Will we be allowed to overtake? and other conundrums when competition returns (photo by Paul)
Three months on and there is light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel for a return to Club organised training. Competitions are also starting to return with the last week's televised athletics from Oslo taking an early centre stage and giving an inkling of how any Track & Field Meets may have to be organised if/when they return in the UK in the next few months. We still await any sign that off-road or road races will resume and, for now, ‘virtual’ races with time-trialling will have to do. Read on for our latest update on what is happening and what to anticipate.
It’s now three months since the Covid-19 lockdown kicked in and we had to cancel all Harrier organised Club training sessions and all races and athletic events have been off the agenda. Gradually, however, training, racing and athletic events are now starting to return. Hopefully, everyone is still following the advice as set out by the NHS/Govt and are also keeping an eye on the England Athletics website for our sport-specific updates?
This week (11th June) has seen the Club drafting up its own Risk Assessment for using training facilities again; ensuring its insurances are in place; and start to plan for a resumption of Club training under the guidance of Club coaches. Some of the England Athletic webinars have also been attended to make sure we can comply with best practice when we resume. We will update this (Harrier) website when everything is in place and Members will receive an email from Graham to advise them of procedures which we will all have to follow when the Club training recommences.
We currently hope to resume some Club training groups in July, Before then, of course, there is nothing to stop individuals training on their own and small groups (up to 6) meeting to train together following the physical distancing rules using public spaces.
Those Harrier members who competed for our partner Club, Yeovil Olympiads last track season have also had the opportunity in the past few weeks to use the track at Yeovil. It’s only available on a booked basis and we have forwarded the list of eligible Harrier names that might be able to book that track. Currently only lanes 2 and 5 are permitted for use to ensure physical distancing rules are adhered to.
Until we get written permissions as part of our hiring agreements with other venues we aren’t able to use any private (school or Sports Centre) facilities. When we do return to Club training we obviously need to limit numbers in line with whatever the Govt guidance then is, and use space and facilities appropriately.- this will undoubtedly mean that we can’t have folk just rolling up expecting to train but will have to have a ‘booking system’ with payment in advance to limit the numbers.
Resumption of competition
Over the past month or so we have seen a resumption of some athletic competitions in different parts of the world with some innovative solutions being found – perhaps the highest profile launch event in early May was the global Pole Vault challenge where 3 of the World’s best competed in their own back gardens (!) to see who could clear the 5m bar the most times within the 30 minute time limit. That was an exhausting half hour!
The Impossible Games
Last Thursday (11th June) saw the traditional annual Bislett Games, in Oslo, take place – it’s normally a tightly packed intimate stadium with many of the World’s athletic stars there setting records – a bit like the Olympics in an evening! This year it became the Impossible Games, still with some amazing competition in front of the virtually empty stadium – there were some excellent performances and in addition to many National records being broken there were also new European and World records set. It’s well worth catching up with BBC highlights on IPlayer.
The annual Bislett Games usually sees big fields of international athletes in races and packed stands, but not this year! (photo by Paul, 2012)
The Impossible Games also indicate the sorts of protocols that may well have to be in place when relatively low-key athletic competition resumes here in the UK, say, in August perhaps after some Club based events. At the local level, there are still currently some discussions taking place about the possibility of a fixture or two in the South West League happening but undoubtedly with a different programme from usual; if not then more localised competitions, perhaps within a County may be possible.
Road and off-road Racing is also definitely off the agenda until August at the earliest and when it returns the races may have to operate on a time trial basis or only with small numbers of runners. The prospects for the 40th Running of the London Marathon don’t seem too bright at the moment so our commiserations (again) to members who havea place in that race and have been waiting and hoping that the situation would ease somewhat quicker.
One of the events I’m involved with, the Southern Fell Running Championships to be held on the 12th/13th September on the Isle of Wight, is currently in the balance, and a decision will be taken in the next few weeks and is obviously dependent upon further relaxations of the current Covid-19 rules around travelling, staying somewhere else, as well as the issues around actually competing safely. And, of course we don't know if there will be a 2nd spike in cases of Covid-19 positive cases.
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