In response to the government’s July 10th announcement, RunBritain have now released their guidelines for staging road and mountain running events. At present the guidelines only apply to events in England.
The current advice does not specify the date from which races can return, although all events that have applied for a license between the dates of August 1st and December 31st have been asked to supply details of how they plan to act on the guidelines, before any licenses are given.
In contrast to British Triathlon, RunBritain’s guidelines leave the majority of race-day decisions in the hands of the event organiser and make it clear that, first and foremost, organisers should adhere to the most up-to-date government guidelines.
We’ve broken down the essential action points, as well as some key recommendations, which event organisers must implement in order to stage a COVID-secure event:
1. RISK ASSESSMENT & MITIGATION
One of the few concrete requirements laid out by RunBritain is that all event organisers must formulate a comprehensive risk assessment and mitigation plan, which includes a Code of Behaviour for all staff and suppliers of the event.
From a medical standpoint, event organisers must perform detailed and regular assessments to minimise the impact of staging the event on the wider community and local healthcare systems.
Additionally, organisers must continue to adhere to RunBritain’s medical guidance issued in 2013, as well as additional measures in relation to COVID-19, and it’s mandatory to have a plan around managing individuals who present with COVID-19 symptoms at the event.
When understanding the impact of staging the event on the wider community and local healthcare systems, event organisers should contact the local resilience officer of the ambulance service in their area as their NHS contact.
2. COVID-19 OFFICERS
It is mandatory to have a Covid-19 officer for your event. This can be the race director or another individual within the event organisation, and they will act as the primary point of contact for all staff and suppliers at every stage of the event.
This individual will also be in charge of the risk assessment and mitigation planning, and ensuring that safety standards as outlined by RunBritain are met and, whilst they do not need official qualifications, they should have a good understanding of risk management.
A Covid-19 medical officer, separate from the above, is not a necessity. However, the engagement of a medical professional who has an up-to-date knowledge of the local and global Covid-19 pathology is recommended.
Communication will be key to running a successful Covid-secure event. All plans and measures in place must be communicated ahead of time, to participants, staff, suppliers, venues, and local residents.
It is important to keep in mind that events must have approval from local authorities to go ahead, and event organisers should be prepared to submit detailed plans of their additional safety measures before an event can go ahead.
Code of conduct documents must be distributed to both participants and spectators in advance of the race. RunBritain have said that these documents don’t need to be extensive, but should have 10-15 points regarding expected behaviour on race day. We have created example codes of conduct here for your use, based on RunBritains guidelines.
NB: Spectators are highly discouraged, but not banned.
Pre-race briefings should be avoided, unless there are any important last-minute changes which need to be communicated.
4. EVENT INFRASTRUCTURE
Provide hand-sanitation facilities for all staff, volunteers, and officials throughout the race, and sufficient PPE where appropriate. The guidelines highlight this as must have, in order to stage an event.
Clear and instructive signage is encouraged throughout. In their ‘Return to Racing’ webinar, RunBritain highlighted that there should be increased signage or marshalling around areas of the course where social distancing may be harder to maintain.
5. SOCIAL DISTANCING, FROM START TO FINISH
Social distancing legislation must be adhered to pre-event, during the race, and at the finish. RunBritain stress that social distancing must be maintained even if overtaking.
The start-line and the finish chute will be important areas for event organisers to consider. We’ve provided a deeper insight on how organisers can tackle these areas in our article here.
Interestingly, RunBritain has not given any guidance on maximum event capacity, as they believe that this is too event specific, and dependent on how a specific event’s infrastructure (e.g. road closures, location, parking etc.) can allow for social distancing.
Evidently, the lack of essential requirements laid out by RunBritain shows that the bulk of the responsibility will lie with the organiser. That said, organisers should err on the side of caution and follow the government’s advice to the letter.
Over the coming weeks, it will become clearer as to how RunBritain’s guidelines translate into actually hosting an event. As the situation evolves, we will be providing up-to-date information and case studies on how events can be run safely and responsibly.
Useful Links & Tools
1. Full breakdown of all RunBritain documentation
2. Gov’t guidance for providers of outdoor facilities on the phased return of sport and recreation in England
3. Suggestions for staging a Covid-secure event
4. Participant and Spectator Codes of Conduct