Return to Competition - summary of guidance update (4 August)

England Athletics – Return to Competition update: Guidance for competition from August 8th 2020. (Information released on Tuesday 4th August 2020).

Following careful planning, consultation with medical input and other sports and logging the information with DCMS/Sport England we are pleased to announce a further step forward in the competition guidance for events from 8th August 2020.  Click here to access the updated Return to Track & Field Competition guidance.

We will continue to monitor government advice and work to proceed safely back to more normal competition. We will keep everyone updated with or without any change on a regular basis.

Explanation of changes

DCMS have asked sport bodies to base their return to play around three factors; droplet transmission (from breathing), fomite transmission (surfaces) and population; in each event and in the whole competition. Different events in track and field present challenges in different areas e.g. throws can maintain social distancing (droplet transmission) but use equipment (fomite transmission).

Medical advice and the adaption of the team sport framework to a track and field competitive setting has enabled the sport to take a further step forward to return to competition. The social distancing requirements can be reduced within a Covid-19 secure competition environment for relatively short periods of time based on a medical assessment of droplet transmission and the nature of each event. With sprint track events taking place in lanes of 1m+ width and capping middle distance events at 3000m including steeplechase the sport can, with limited fields, up to 6 athletes, at this point in time, adopt standard format racing. This is based on a balanced assessment of droplet, fomite and population transmission, in line with wider government guidance on numbers of individuals gathering from different households. Track racing numbers are lower than road racing numbers because of the nature of track racing and the reduced likelihood of athletes being able to spread out on the track compared to the road.

In the jumps events up to 6 athletes can compete in a group. Cleaning according to the guidance is to be carried out after each group of up to 6 competitors.

In the throws events up to 12 athletes can compete in a group due to the ability to social distance and use own equipment. Cleaning and hygiene requirements currently remain the same as before. Competition organisers should also ensure they can manage the social distancing requirements in a particular throws ‘zone’. The potential total time of throws events should also be considered with larger fields.

Headline updates for IN COMPETITION from 8th August 2020:

  • Sprint racing can take place in lanes, with up to 6 athletes. (See explanation above)
  • Middle distance racing can take place in groups of up to 6 athletes from 800m up to 3000m/3000mSC. (See explanation above). Note: While current guidelines, based on medical advice and sport frameworks, limit middle distance racing to the 3000m distance, British Athletics are accepting 3000m times for entry consideration to the BA Champs 5000m (scheduled for 4-5 Sept).
  • Throws events can have groups up to 12 athletes maintaining social distancing and cleaning protocols. (Standard competition size group)
  • Jumps events can have groups up to 6 athletes maintaining social distancing ensuring cleaning protocols after every group of 6.

We will continually review this guidance and update it accordingly.

England Athletics
4th August 2020