Coronavirus Statement (FAQs updated 1 April)

See below for our most recent Coronavirus Statement (updated 24 March), our England Athletics Coronavirus FAQs (updated 1 April) plus signposting to further guidance in the Additional Updates section (updated 2 April).

Coronavirus Statement: last updated 24 March at 11am

Following the further restrictions on movement put in place by the UK Government, UKA and the Home Country Athletics Federations have made the following updates to our previous statement issued on 17 March:

  1. Extending the suspension of all athletics activity in England to the 31 May. [Initially this had been agreed to the end of April]. This suspension includes all organised athletics activity in the UK, including all competitions, formal club activities, running groups, and all Education activity (coach, official, teacher).
  2. Strengthening our position on coaching activity – We are now mandating that all physical coaching ceases, and only be conducted via virtual means during this period. Bringing groups of people together to train, however small, can no longer be permitted under the strict ‘Stay at home’ measures implemented by the UK Government.

These decisions have not been taken lightly and have been made in light of the continuing and real risk to life and to the NHS posed by the spread of the COVID-19 virus in England. We must now to all we can do. We would ask that the athletics community in England continues to help one another by staying connected and supportive of each other whilst at home in these unprecedented times. We will continue to review the situation in line with Government and Public Health guidance.

In addition to providing clarity to clubs, athletes, runners, coaches and officials, we are acutely aware that a number of competition providers have already made the bold decision to postpone their events in recognition that they stand to incur additional contractual costs on facilities that they have booked should they not make that decision now. We will continue to review this decision as the government guidance evolves but one thing is clear and that is that athletics, running and sport in general is special and is an important contributor to our way of life but it is very much secondary to protecting and saving lives at this current time.

In its latest measures to contain the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), the UK Government has announced that everyone must now stay at home except in exceptional circumstances.

From Monday 23 March, the only permissible reasons to leave your home are as follows:

  • To shop for basic necessities and that should be limited to once a day
  • To take exercise once a day – but alone or with those you live with, no gatherings of more than two people
  • For medical reasons or to care for a vulnerable person
  • To travel to essential work if that cannot be done at home. Further guidance to employers is pending.

While athletics is predominantly an outdoor sport that allows athletes to exercise in the fresh air, the message to all of us is clear, we must play our part in containing the spread of COVID-19. We urge our members to utilise the opportunity to exercise as laid out by both governments, but as such, any informal small group training sessions of athletes or face-to-face coached sessions must now cease (*unless they are with your own household members as above).

We have witnessed some very creative home and/or garden-based training sessions (safely of course) during the last week, and we would urge clubs and coaches to continue to be innovative during this period. A number of schools have also been task setting for their pupils and it would be of immense value to continue to engage athletes and your members in similar style tasks for athletics.

There are numerous ways in which people can remain active whether that be core strength training at home, HIIT, Circuits, running and so on (whilst adhering to the government guidance) so we will be actively promoting these. We will of course be pushing out digital content relating to exercising at home during this week thanks to the work of our respective coaching and athlete development team members.

England Athletics CEO Chris Jones commented “We all have a responsibility to play our part in mitigating risk and in reducing the spread of this virus. It will be deflating to many but if we do pull together and adhere to the guidance issued then we will come through this period. In the meantime we will be working tirelessly as partners to provide value to our member clubs, athletes, runners, coaches and volunteers and will be organising activities and providing resources utilising a range of methods such as online forums, webinars and podcasts that will help people prepare for a time when we can all look forward with renewed optimism as an Athletics & Running family.”

These decisions are difficult ones to make, but right now, it is our shared responsibility to prioritise the health of our local communities by working together to follow the Government guidelines. In doing so, this will ensure that we all get back to competing in the sport we love so much sooner.

Good luck and stay safe!

Additional Updates

  • Update 2 April 2020:  further clarity has been provided around the issue of ground maintenance work and ground maintenance staff being able to continue in their roles (relevant to clubs/venues concerned about facility upkeep). Click here to read more.
  • Update 2 April 2020:  Sport England has announced up to £195m of funding to support the sport and physical activity sector, including a £20 Emergency Community Fund open to bids from clubs and community organisation.  Click here to read more.
  • Update 31 March 2020:  UKA, in collaboration with England Athletics and the other HCAFs, has clarified the guidance on coaching during the lockdown period and on insurance and welfare issues in relation to virtual coaching. Click here to read more.
  • Update 26 March 2020:  the TrackMark accreditation and throws cage modification deadlines have been extended to relieve pressure on clubs and venues.  Click here to read more.

Frequently Asked Questions


Courses

All qualification and development courses have been postponed.  Everyone who has booked onto a course will be sent an email asap informing them of the postponement and will be able to defer their booking.

Where we can, we will attempt to continue with education via online methods (e.g. webinar, Skype etc). However, this may not be practically possible for all activities. Where not, the aim will be to re-schedule courses to a later date wherever feasible.

Qualifying races

We are currently undergoing a contingency planning process for qualifying races and will keep everyone updated as soon as possible.

Road Races:

Guidance for road races and multi-terrain races with a licence but not yet taken place:

In line with the updated government advice, any competition that takes place during a period in which UK Athletics has advised that all events should be cancelled will have its licence cancelled. If a licensed race is cancelled and the competition is still staged, then it would not be covered by UKA public liability insurance.

If you need to suspend an event and reschedule it for later in the year, and assuming that you have got Local Authority approval for the new date and that nothing else has changed with the race arrangements, then the existing licence with an amended date will be valid. Please contact info@runbritain.com with confirmation of Local Authority approval and the new race date. There will inevitably be some fixture clashes given the level of rescheduling involved. However, our view is that it is in the best interests of the sport and those involved in organising races to stage as many existing races as is practicable. Our advice is not to schedule any new events at this time.

If you are cancelling your event this year then please contact info@runbritain.com and the race will be cancelled on the runbritain system and removed from the Race Listing page. There is no licence fee due for cancelled races and the deposit payment for the licence application can be deferred to next year.

If your race is cancelled, you may need to arrange refunds of entry fees or deferrals to next year’s race.

Please note that given the current unique circumstances runbritain is experiencing an unprecedented level of enquires and requests for administration services that will inevitably delay our response time.

Guidance for road race and multi-terrain licence applications not yet submitted:

UK Athletics has advised that all races should not take place until after 31 May. Therefore, you should not apply for a licence with a race date before 1 June.

Guidance on Refunds:

Click here for guidance on refunds


This page can be accessed any time using www.englandathletics.org/coronavirus