As individual as our sport essentially is, the social aspect is perhaps key in enabling it to thrive. And its community has shown its mettle over the past week or so in staying together and remaining active through great adversity. Never before have athletics and running faced such restrictions. Competitive sport and group training have been temporarily closed down in order to meet with government guidelines aimed at combating the spread of Covid-19.
However, England Athletics affiliated clubs and RunTogether groups have embraced modern technology to stay in touch with their members, boost morale and maintain fitness levels. Below we’ve assembled a collection of social media posts showing some of the clubs’ and groups’ ideas to promote activity in ways which adhere to lockdown restrictions.
Athletics and running for everyone @home
Don’t forget that England Athletics’ new Athletics and Running for everyone @home hub contains everything you need as an athlete, coach, club, volunteer, official or running group to stay engaged with your sport as fully as possible right now. There you can find details of our coaching webinars, which are free live video conferences on a variety of themes in multiple disciplines. Our experts are even open to your suggestions on topics. Further, our regular club support webinars offer the community the chance to submit questions to be addressed by key members of the England Athletics team.
We have also brought forward the launch of our funetics videos designed to demonstrate activities for 4 to 11 year-olds, while our regular podcasts also help the community stay connected.
You can also check out our pre-existing Athletics Hub resources for coaches operating remotely, and gain free access to the Athletics 365 XL bundle for coaches and Run Leaders. We are also now making two of our Athletics 365 ‘paid for’ resources for children aged 11+ free of charge.
The @home hub will continue to be updated over the coming weeks.
Clubs and RunTogether groups stay connected
We’ve specific technical advice on how clubs can stay connected digitally too. We are still able to train outdoors as long as we are careful to run solo or with members of our household, maintain at least 2m from anyone else and exercise only once per day. You might like to try games similar to that such as the runners’ bingo devised by RunTogether group HLB Runners or Horsforth Harriers’ Strava battleships.
See what some clubs have shared on social media over the past few days:
Here’s what HLB Runners have been doing to keep active. You could do a version with your own local landmarks. Just a reminder that “running with a buddy” is off the cards for the time being, though. #BetterTogether
— RunTogether (@RunTogether_) March 26, 2020
Anyone got any ideas out there for runners to have fun together … remotely? We are looking at @Strava and maybe building time trials, different segment challenges and even Segment Battleships ⚓️🤗
— Horsforth Harriers (@HorsforthH) March 18, 2020
Meanwhile, many are choosing to use their gardens more and more for exercise. Poole Runners have reacted to the cancellation of Poole Festival of Running by setting up a garden marathon challenge. Anyone from around the country can get involved in the charity effort and already dozens have committed to the virtual event on April 5.
St Theresa’s Athletic Club have put together a number of social distancing activities for its members, including setting solo running and exercise circuits and self-isolation activities.
It’s by no means all running, though. Wigan & District’s Trevor Painter, coach and husband of Jenny Meadows, organised a remote garden-based standing long jump competition.
@KellySotherton @JohnsonThompson @niamhemerson @J_Ennis @JennyMeadows800 @LauraTurner100 @Scott_Simpson_ @HollyBradshawPV @StuartMcMillan1 @IanHodge7 @TomBosworth @Adam_Gemili @BritAthletics @WorldAthletics who is in? @AndrexUK would you be interested in sponsoring the prizes 🤔 pic.twitter.com/Pige8Osxag
— Trevor painter (@Faster_feet) March 25, 2020
And Yate AC also helped ensure field-eventers weren’t left out. They set up a virtual javelin competition which the community could take part in from the comfort of their armchair.
The athletics world is also in shutdown, but that’s not going to stop us have a javelin competition!
Download game at the Apple App Store: https://t.co/wTpqfHXj7a
1) Record a best distance at all 3 venues.
2) Claim your spot on our leaderboard by tweeting us a screenshot
— Yate AC (@YateAC) March 19, 2020
We will all emerge with this lockdown with stronger cores, if the number of indoor exercises being recommended by our clubs is anything to go by! Oldham & Royton invited athletes to produce a workout based on the spelling of your name.
This is just a little something for the kids in Kieran and Brian’s group (and anyone else) to stay active💪💪.
Once you’ve done your own name mix it up a little and try another name in your family and don’t forget to stretch.
Enjoy and see you all soon👍👍 pic.twitter.com/GkhtlYCcOL
— Oldham & Royton HAC (@OldhamRoytonHAC) March 24, 2020
— RunTogether RTW runners (@RTWrunners) March 30, 2020
East Cheshire Harriers have been getting in on the act too with daily indoor or garden challenges.
— East Chesh Harriers (@east_cheshire) April 1, 2020
The England Athletics RunTogether groups have been doing their best to carry on as a community too – albeit remotely. Tuff Fitty Tri Club, inspired by the idea of Graham Liddell (Santa), are doing weekly Fancy Dress Fridays.
#RunTogether groups are showing how solo exercise can be great fun! @TuffFitty have started Fancy Dress Fridays, with around a dozen of them getting kitted out last week to amuse their neighbours. It’s the brainchild of Graham Liddell (Santa). pic.twitter.com/of1yXXf5ww
— RunTogether (@RunTogether_) March 30, 2020
Washlands Women are among the many groups who are staying connected with their members by suggesting remote sessions.
— Washlands Women (@Washlands) March 30, 2020
Park View 4U Run Group are also doing what they can to keep their club together.
Our fabulous @parkviewruns are keeping active individually but are still together via social media. Look after your mental and physical health. #StayInTouch #Community #WeCanDoThis @MindCharity @allanoldfield1 @SportFylde @RunTogether_ @RedDreamer1 pic.twitter.com/q0CsrmwUKw
— Park View (@pv4ulytham) March 26, 2020
As are JogSquad Bicester.
Sole Sisters Leeds have been putting out regular posts showing their members keeping active.
Lovely #parkrunday for our #solosolesisters 🌳🌼💕 lots of @leedsgirlscan Potternewton park couch to 5kers finishing off week 4 👏🏻 keep those updates coming! #LeedsGirlsCan #leedsgirlscanrun #leedsgirlscanfriendly #FitGotReal #ThisGirlCan #thisgirlcanrun #walkjogrun #proud #fitfamily #solesisters #sweatyselfies #womenempoweringwomen #runandtalk #runtogether #socialrunning #community #couchto5k #C25K #challengeyourself #solo #solosolesister #staysafe
Tingley Run Fit are also doing their best to keep club spirit going.
AMAZING WORK GUYS! 👏🏻👏🏻 Great to see so many of you getting out there and keeping active 🏃🏼🏃🏼♀ 🗣 Shout out to those still going to work, working from home while juggling childcare or home schooling, or just not feeling it right now. These are tough times, so if you manage a short walk on just 1 day for some headspace, you’re still a winner in our eyes 👏🏻 #VirtualTRF💙 #staysafe #crewinblue #runfromhome #goodmentalhealth
Finally, Doncaster AC highlighted the significant part that athletics and running clubs play in the local community. When they were no longer able to continue meeting as a club and finding food from their tuck shop left over, they donated it to food banks.
With club nights not ongoing at the moment, @ACDoncaster have decided to donate their near out-of-date stock from their tuck shop to local food banks. Great work! Let us know about anything you’re doing to help in your area. #BetterTogether
— England Athletics (@EnglandAthletic) March 23, 2020