What the New Government Announcement Means for Mass Participation Events

The government’s announcement yesterday was an exciting step toward the return of mass participation sports events in the UK, with Oliver Dowden - Secretary of State for Culture, Media, and Sport - stating: “We need to get the nation match fit to fight this disease.” Here is a quick rundown of what’s set to open:

  • Outdoor pools and outdoor theatres can reopen as soon as Saturday 11th July
  • Starting with cricket, recreational sports (“hockey, football, rugby and countless others”) can start to return at the weekend
  • Gyms, indoor pools and leisure centres can all open their doors from 25th July

Despite these promising announcements, there was no explicit mention of mass participation sports events. What is clear is that a response from UK Athletics or Sport England will determine what comes next for mass participation sports.


The gov’t have announced set dates for the return of various sporting and cultural activities spanning 11th July - 25th July, including the opening of gyms, swimming pools and sports facilities.

11th July

25th July    

However, the announcement was clear that all the reopening dates were both conditional and reversible. Therefore, if we do see a second spike, this timeline is set to change.

What does this mean for races?

A key take away from Dowden’s announcement was that there can be a “resumption of recreational sport as soon as their organisations publish approved guidance.” Meaning that our industry’s next steps rest on a response from UK Athletics.

If they publish an action plan on how events can be run safely then races, of a certain size, are likely to be allowed to return come August so long as they meet the UK Athletics safety guidelines.

For some it will then become a question of whether or not it is the right decision to run an event in the current climate. We are currently reaching out to our own user base to gauge consumer sentiment around the potential return of races and what measures would make them feel safe and secure in this environment, and will publish the findings very shortly.

However, there are a number of ways in which you can host a safe, contact-free race. We have put together some suggestions here. What’s more, given organisers gather all contact details for entrants pre-race, it’s easy to conduct contact-tracing, should anyone at your race test positive for COVID-19.


This is an evolving situation and we will continually update our blog to reflect the situation as well as our guide on how to run safe, contact-free events. If you do have any other tips for running safe events, then please get in touch with ellie@letsdothis.com.

Over the coming week we will be putting together a definitive Covid-19 Recovery Plan based on the guidelines from Sports England and UK Athletics and how you can best run a safe race. If you would like to receive this when it’s ready then please sign up for our mailing list below.

Related Articles

Article: Why now is the time to start planning your in-person events
Video: Full gov’t announcement from the Culture Secretary

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