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UK Govt Released New Guidelines on Mass Participation Races

[Photo: The Guardian]
The UK government announced that physical activity and participation events can resume in England from 11 July, and sports facilities and outside pools can re-open from 25 July. Up until now, there has been a great deal of speculation over if and when running races will be allowed to return this year and what they might look like if they did.

United Kingdom Athletics and Run Britain have since released guidelines on staging running events, which will require race organisers to complete covid-19 risk assessments as well as following a number of different safety measures before, during and after the race.

Here’s what races might look like if they return later this year, the full guidelines can be downloaded from the Run Britain website.


While event organisers will not be required to screen runners before the race, all pre-event communication will need to remind runners that if they have been unwell in the 14-days prior to the event, they should not run. The new rules suggest that race packs should, if possible, include numbers and timing chips, to avoid time spent in race registration. To minimise queues and face to face queries on the day of the race, all race information should be communicated with runners beforehand.

Organisers will also need to consider whether runners will be able to safely social distance when travelling to and from the race on public transport and look into alternative facilities for other forms of transport, such as car and bike parking.

Social distancing measures must be met at the start of the race and organisers must consider whether facilities such as bag drops and customer information will cause participants to congregate.


The guidelines state, ‘Organisers must design start line procedures such that the density of participants at the start line is within social distancing guidelines. This could be achieved by:

  • Maximising the space available at the start line and the time available for participants to cross the start line.
  • Clear messaging to participants to follow start line protocols (e.g. seeding by predicted time).
  • Reducing the dwell time before the start to an absolute minimum. Move participants more rapidly to the start line.
  • Modelling the start “release” time. This would include lengthening the release time to allow social distancing to be maintained throughout the course and have a buffer built in to reduce the flow rate and compensate for compression on the course due to emergency access, pedestrian crossings, incidents etc.’

The guidelines also note that event features that lead to congregating, such as race pacers, should be removed from the route. Along the course, narrow sections of the race will need to be reconsidered, to allow runners to safely overtake one another while still social distancing.

Runners will be encouraged to bring their own hydration and nutrition to the events. If feed stations are needed, water is likely to be in sealed bottles rather than cups and should be picked up by runners, rather than handed to them.


The guidelines note that runners should be dispersed from the finish line as quickly as possible and that ‘unnecessary touch points’ such as the handing out of medals should be removed from finish areas.

Runners should not be allowed to sit or lie down in the finishing chute (unless they require medical attention). There should also be hand sanitising/hand washing stations available for runners.

The guidelines also mention the safety of the race volunteers, all of whom should be wearing sufficient PPE to ensure they are protected. Organisers will also need to have sufficient plans for dealing with runners who exhibit symptoms of Covid-19 at the event.

It also suggests that runners who have been seriously unwell with Covid-19 must undergo a health screening before competing, ‘Those who were hospitalised due to Covid-19 should undergo a form of health screening prior to taking part in an event. This screening is best led by a doctor with specialist training in sports medicine however other doctors may feel competent to make decisions on the participants’ fitness to compete and to decide any appropriate investigations that might be required.’

Article Credit: New guidelines on mass participation races released
Original Author: Jane McGuire
Article Syndicated from