Latest updates

Updates:

14th April 2021
Overnight domestic stays are allowed in self-contained accommodation. Spectating in groups of no more than 6 may now be possible after 17th May.(28, updated 8th April 2021)

26th March 2021
Following updated guidance from DCMS (28, updated 25th March 2021) our guidance on spectating has been updated.

24th February 2021
Races are permitted from 29th March with suitable Covid-safe social distancing measures in place. Members are advised to minimise travel although there will be no restrictions on County borders. Domestic overnight stays are permitted after 12th April. Spectating in groups of no more than 6 may be possible after 12th April(31).

4th January 2021
Following the Government’s updated Covid-19 National restrictions, events have been suspended until further notice (29). All outdoor competition is not permitted (30).

29th December 2020
Following updated guidance from the Government and England Athletics, events cannot take place in Tier 4 (Stay At Home) areas. Events can take place in Tier 1-3 areas. Volunteers may travel into or out of Tier 3 (Very High alert level) areas to officiate. Members should not travel into or out of Tier 3 (Very High alert level) areas.

22nd December 2020
Following updated guidance from the Government and England Athletics, events cannot take place in Tier 4 (Stay At Home) areas. Events can take place in Tier 1-3 areas. Volunteers may travel into or out of Tier 3 (Very High alert level) areas to officiate. Members should not [emphasised] travel into or out of Tier 3 (Very High alert level) areas.

2nd December 2020
Following updated guidance from the Government and England Athletics, events can resume from 2nd December 2020 (26). Local tier restrictions do not affect outdoor organised sport (23); however, travel affects events and residents in Tier 3 areas.

5th November 2020
Following updated guidance from England Athletics, events have been suspended until at least 3rd December 2020. All outdoor competition is not permitted (25).

28th October 2020
Following updated guidance from England Athletics, events can still take place within Very High alert level areas however there is to be “no travel into or out of those areas to compete or officiate” (24).

17th October 2020
New regulations involving local COVID alert levels (‘tiers’ or also known as a ‘local lockdown’) introduced 12th October DO NOT apply to outdoor organised sport (23). However, guidance does advise residents should not travel outside Very High alert level areas and people should not enter a Very High alert level area (22).

22nd September 2020
New regulations involving the ‘rule of six’ introduced 24th September DO NOT apply to organised sport and as such do not affect current advice in place (18) (19)

14th September 2020
New regulations introduced 14th September DO NOT apply to organised sport and as such do not affect current advice in place (4) (7)

Coronavirus (COVID-19)



The Fell Runners Association appreciate this is a very challenging time for our sport as the country tackles outbreaks of Covid-19.

As regulations change, please be kind to our Race Organisers who have a difficult job putting on events and attempting to manage rapid changes outside their control at short notice.

(This guidance applies to fell races in England only - please see this note.)


We are committed to:
  • - keeping our Members informed of relevant changes to guidance regarding our sport and encouraging members to keep physically active and racing to promote health and wellbeing
  • - supporting our Race Organisers in staging fell races in a safe and secure manner where they feel it is achievable by advising of current guidance and suggesting best practice in accordance with regulations.
  • - ensuring that Junior fell races are enjoyable for the younger athlete despite the Covid restrictions.

We have established a Covid Working Group to help understand new regulations and advise Race Organisers and Members through this difficult time.

This page will be updated with information relative to ongoing guidance.

Contents:
Summary of Activities
Guidance for Members
Guidance for Parents/Guardians
Guidance for Race Organisers
Additional Guidance For Race Organisers Of Junior Races

Summary of Activities

as at 14th April 2021 (latest changes in red):

From 29th March, races can take place with unlimited numbers in a Covid-safe environment(31).

Pre-entry is required and no entries on the day are allowed.

You can travel to exercise and take part in informal and organised sport(28).

Members are advised to minimise travel although there will be no restrictions on County borders. Domestic overnight stays are permitted(28).

Participants must not attend any race if they are showing any signs of Covid-19 symptoms:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss or change to sense of smell or taste

Collection of numbers (by runners) and checkpoint equipment should ideally be outdoors. Participants should maintain social distancing of 2m (or 1m+ with face coverings; a doubled-up neck gaiter will suffice (21)). (6)

Participants must practise good personal hygiene at all times (including use of 70%+ alcohol hand sanitiser) - before arriving, at registration, when using toilets (if provided), when entering checkpoints, leaving checkpoints, etc.

Mass starts are possible with social distancing of 2m (or 1m+ with face coverings)(31). Otherwise we recommend ‘staggered start’ races with runners safely distanced, starting in waves of up to 30 every few (5-6) minutes or individual starts based on time slots in a time-trial style.

Participants should avoid running in the slipstream of other participants. Overtaking on course must be done at a safe distance of 2m+

Checkpoints should be contactless. Where food and water is required, we must reduce the amount of fomite transmission from objects as much as possible (individual packaging) and personal hygiene (use of hand sanitiser) must be adhered to by all.

Marshals should maintain social distancing of 2m (or 1m+ with face coverings). Where this is not possible, 1m+ with face coverings must be adhered to.

Participants should disperse as soon as possible after finishing.

Spectating is not permitted, with the aim of keeping total attendee numbers low. Spectating in groups of no more than 6 may be possible from 17th May(28).

Guidance for Members

This is an extremely challenging time for organisers and you can help by adhering to these measures.

Self Sufficiency
In the true spirit of fell running, we encourage self-sufficiency :
Bring your own face covering (a doubled-up neck gaiter will suffice) and hand gel (70%+ alcohol content)
Carry these with you in your race kit in case of emergency. Carry your own food and water where possible.

Travelling

You can travel to exercise and take part in informal and organised sport(28).

Members are advised to minimise travel although there will be no restrictions on County borders. Domestic overnight stays are permitted in self-contained accommodation and within households/bubbles(28).

Follow best practice for travel including minimising use of public transport and limiting car sharing. Walk or cycle if you can. People from a household or support bubble can travel together in a vehicle. Details can be found here

Please be aware of Government restrictions on individuals and families available at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Check the details

Races may be cancelled at the last minute, so check the FRA / Race Organiser’s website or emails for any new details. Appreciate these may be imposed on Race Organisers at the very last minute and will be completely out of their control.

Be aware that changing facilities and toilets may not be available. There also may be long queues for any that are open. Leaving behind faeces, toilet paper or wipes is totally unacceptable. Please come prepared to “bag it” and take it home.

Symptoms

You must not attend any race if you are showing any signs of Covid-19 symptoms:

  • a high temperature,
  • a new, continuous cough,
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

In addition, do not attend if you have :

  • been in contact with anyone showing any signs of Covid-19 symptoms in the past 14 days
  • been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace service,
  • travelled within the last 14 days to an international location where self-isolation is required following your visit. A list can be found here

At the race

Follow all personal hygiene guidance including washing your hands, carrying tissues for sneezing and bringing a small face covering in case you need it (they are small and easily fit in your bag)

Use hand sanitiser: before arriving, at registration, when using toilets (if provided)

If local toilets are available, please respect other users and maintain social distancing.

Avoid running in the slipstream of other participants. Overtaking on course must be done at a safe-distance of 2m+

Do not congregate before or after the event. Households should meet beforehand, and reconvence afterwards, at a pre-arranged location.

Following the race

If you develop Covid-19 symptoms and/or have a positive test within 72 hours of the race, you must inform the Race Organiser.

If you test positive you should complete the UKA Covid-19 Report Form here .



Club training activity

The principles of Covid-safe activity detailed here can also be applied at formal Club Training activities. Specific guidance for Club Training will be provided by your Club and is also available at englandathletics.org.

Club officials looking for examples of ways in which to implement Covid-safe protocols might find it helpful to review Trawden AC’s Covid page here.

.

Guidance for Parents/Guardians

This is an extremely challenging time for organisers and you and your child can help by adhering to these measures.

Pre-entry is required - this is a big change for Junior events. This may soon change; however, it is best to anticipate this may become the new “normal”.

Self Sufficiency – In the true spirit of fell running, we encourage self-sufficiency:

  • Bring your/their own face covering (11+ only; a doubled-up neck gaiter will suffice) and hand gel (70%+ alcohol content).
  • Carry your/their own food and water where possible.

Travelling

You can travel to exercise and take part in informal and organised sport(28).

Parents/guardians are advised to minimise travel although there will be no restrictions on County borders. Domestic overnight stays are permitted in self-contained accommodation and within households/bubbles(28).

Follow best practice for travel including minimising use of public transport and limiting car sharing. Walk or cycle if you can. People from a household or support bubble can travel together in a vehicle. Details can be found here.

Please be aware of Government restrictions on individuals and families available at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

One Parent/Guardian per Junior athlete is allowed for supervision(27).

Spectating is not permitted with the aim of keeping total attendee numbers low. Spectating in groups of no more than 6 may be possible from 17th May (28).

Parents, guardians and spectators should be spaced evenly maintaining at least a 2m distance between groups(28).

Check the details – Races may be cancelled at the last minute, so check the FRA/ Race Organiser’s website or emails for any new details. Appreciate these may be imposed on Race Organisers at the very last minute and will be completely out of their control. Be aware that changing facilities and toilets may not be available. There also may be long queues for any that are open. Leaving behind faeces, toilet paper or wipes is totally unacceptable. Please come prepared to “bag it” and take it home.

Symptoms – You or your child must not attend any race if you or they are showing any signs of Covid-19 symptoms, including:

  • a high temperature;
  • a new, continuous cough;
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.
In addition, do not attend if you or they have:
  • been in contact with anyone showing any signs of Covid-19 symptoms in the past 14 days;
  • been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace service;
  • travelled within the last 14 days to an international location where self-isolation is required following your visit. A list can be found here:

At the race:

  • Follow the guidance given by the organiser who may need to restrict parental access to the start and finish areas to reduce crowding and allow the races to proceed safely.
  • Start and finish areas may be limited to competitors only to prevent congestion.
  • When supporting, please do so away from the start and finish areas and maintain social distancing from other spectators.
  • Follow all personal hygiene guidance including washing your hands, carrying tissues for sneezing and bringing a small face covering in case you need it (they are small and easily fit in your bag).
  • Use hand sanitiser: before arriving, at registration, when using toilets (if provided).
  • Do not congregate before or after the event. Households should meet beforehand, and reconvene afterwards at a pre-arranged location.

Guidance for Race Organisers

Race organisers will need to carry out a Risk Assessment for their event including protocols for Covid-Safe procedures. A template Risk Assessment for key areas highlighted here is available

We have produced a template Risk Assessment specifically for Junior fell races to assist in designing your protocols for Covid-Safe procedures. Please see here.

It is important to remember that the law does not expect you to eliminate all risk but you are required to protect people as far as ‘reasonably practicable’. (9)

Emphasis is placed on reducing:

  • Droplet transmission: based on duration and proximity of participants.
  • Fomite transmission: the risk associated with the handling and transfer of equipment in the sport
  • Population: the number of participants likely to take part (15)

It is noteworthy that the risk of droplet transmission during a fell race is considered low, with generally greater than 1m proximity for less than 3 seconds’ duration.

By controlling the flow of participants and maintaining good personal hygiene, the risk can be kept manageably low.

PPE - It is recommended face coverings are worn by event staff and participants where “physical distancing is difficult” (10) and cannot be maintained, such as indoor registration and at the start / finish.

Gloves are not recommended and considered unnecessary. “Regularly washing (sanitising) your bare hands offers more protection against catching Covid-19 than wearing rubber gloves.” (11)

If you are using handheld timing devices which means you may transfer to/contact someone else, then gloves are advisable.

PPE should NOT be considered a replacement for keeping people 1m+ apart and avoiding “spending time in crowded places or in groups” (12)

Consider marking social distancing at appropriate points, such as the Registration queue or Start line, with temporary chalk marks on the floor.

Registration - Registration should be done beforehand with NO ENTRY ON THE DAY. Many solutions exist; alternatively, you could ask for emailed entry details, with entry fee paid on the day into a sealed donation bucket. Please ‘quarantine’ the donation bucket for 72 hours before opening and counting money (20).

Collection of race numbers can be done on the day, ideally outdoors either distanced via a volunteer or using a method for participants to self-retrieve safely. Participants and marshals should maintain social distancing of 2m (or 1m+ with face coverings).

Pre-race event brief - This should be done prior to the day by email to bring the participants’ attention to key information.

Additional COVID-19 detail for event brief - You should ask entrants to report to you if they show any Covid-19 symptoms and/or a positive test within 72 hours following your event. If athletes test positive you should direct them to complete UKA Covid-19 Report Form here: https://www.uka.org.uk/governance/health-safety/covid-19-form/. This should be done prior to the day by email to bring the participants’ attention to key information.

Start - Mass starts are possible with social distancing of 2m (or 1m+ with face coverings)(31). Otherwise, we recommend ‘staggered start’ races with runners safely distanced starting in waves of up to 30 every few (5-6) minutes or individual starts based on time slots in a time-trial style. This should be discussed with your race timing provider.

Alternatively for simple races, noting the start and finish time (to the nearest second) can be adequate to calculate race time. Where necessary, most GPS watches or smart-phones have satellite-based ‘GPS time’ allowing for similar tasks at timed checkpoints for intervals.

Checkpoints - Checkpoints should be contactless and ideally outdoors. Where food and water is required, reduce the amount of fomite transmission from objects as much as possible by laying out food or offering individual packaged food and water bottles. Marshals should enforce the use of personal hygiene (use of hand sanitiser) and Race Organisers should look to provide hand sanitiser at entrance and exit.

Finish/ presentation- The finish line should be contactless.

Participants should disperse as soon as possible after finishing.

Given the individual nature of the time recording, results will not be known until the last competitor finishes and therefore should be provided at a later time (via the FRA website for example) to avoid participants congregating at the finish area.

A gathering for prize presentation is not allowed; therefore a subsequent email or social media post should be made announcing the winners and prizes should be distributed via post (vouchers for example).

Marshals/Volunteers - All marshals should maintain social distancing of 2m (or 1m+ with face coverings) from participants. All marshals should carry a small container of sanitising hand gel and bring a face covering (a doubled-up neck gaiter will suffice).

Ensure marshals do not attend any race if they are showing any signs of Covid-19 symptoms:

  • a high temperature,
  • a new, continuous cough,
  • a loss or change to sense of smell or taste.

In addition, they should not attend if they have :

  • been in contact with anyone showing any signs of Covid-19 symptoms in the past 14 days,
  • been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace service,
  • travelled within the last 14 days to an international location where self-isolation is required following their visit.

Spectators - Members of the public cannot attend to spectate with the aim of keeping total attendee numbers low. Households and family members should arrange to meet up at a pre-arranged location nearby prior to and following the race.

Spectating in groups of no more than 6 may be possible from 17th May(28).

If on public land, spectators should be spaced evenly maintaining at least a 2m distance between groups(28).

Travelling

You can travel to exercise and take part in informal and organised sport(28).

Members are advised to minimise travel although there will be no restrictions on County borders. Domestic overnight stays are permitted in self-contained accommodation and within households/bubbles(28).

Participants are encouraged to follow best practice for travel including minimising use of public transport and limiting car sharing. Walk or cycle if they can. People from a household or support bubble can travel together in a vehicle.

Kit - in addition to mandatory kit, all Participants should carry appropriate hand gel and mask face covering.

Licensing - New licences for all races will be required, by application to Andy McMurdo, Fixtures Secretary. Please refer to email “2021 FRA Race Licensing” dated 20/09/2020 or contact Andy for further clarification (07568 092534 or [email protected]). A link to the FRA Licence Application Form is here.

Brief Checklist

Check with Local Authority and Landowners of private land to gain approval for the race and review any additional measures they may impose. Contact the FRA with any unreasonable impositions or refusal of land access for further support.

Review your Risk Assessment taking into account additional Covid-Safe protocols in this guidance. Use the Risk Assessment Template to incorporate any additional mitigation measures you feel are appropriate

Consider the venue and space to ensure there will be adequate space to prevent overcrowding (2m spacing).

Consider where the queues may form and if you can add signage or floor markers.

Review your plan for marshals/volunteers - whereas some areas may need more help, there may be cases where too many volunteers may hinder physical spacing.

Additional Guidance for Race Organisers of Junior Races

Junior fell races present additional complexity owing to accompanying parents and the requirement for supervision of the younger athlete. These organisational differences are highlighted below to assist in your planning for Junior races.

In addition to Guidance for Race Organisers, Junior fell race organisers may want to consider the following:

  • Allow longer than usual between the races so athletes and parents can disperse prior to the next race. Build this into your published programme.
  • Possibly add “earliest permitted arrival times” in your information for runners.
  • Discourage warming up or recceing the course on the day.
  • Visual reminders are much easier for children and parents to adhere, such as regular 2m space markings
  • Provide a “Congregation Zone” for parents and families (for example a large field or taped off adjacent space).
  • To reduce congestion, consider limiting access to the start and finish zones to competing Juniors only. Remember that parents need to be able to see the start / finish, but can do so from a safe distance.

Junior courses will need to ensure that the course is sufficiently wide early in the race to allow spacing to be maintained by the runners.

Junior races may need marshals to gently remind people to socially distance and ensure the regular cleaning of toilet facilities. They may also be needed to manage ‘race participant only’ zones.

Race marking will need to be clear as the risk of Juniors going astray on a course is much greater if interval starts are used.

English Junior Championship Registrations with up to 350 runners are complex events and the following suggestions and recommendations may assist organisation:

  • Currently, entry on the day (EOD) is not allowed; however, this may change over time.
  • If EOD is permitted, consider limiting it to a maximum of 20 to reduce the queue and inputting on the day required prior to each age group start.
  • Actively encourage online entries.
  • Consider increasing the prices of EOD to reflect the increased cost of additional PPE and cleaning equipment required.
  • Manage registration queues by drawing 2m boxes on the floor to ensure social distancing.
  • To manage queues and enable social distancing if EOD is offered, consider allocating a specific time window, at spaced intervals for each age EOD group.
  • Consider putting the EOD registration in a separate area to minimise gatherings.

If you have any queries regarding Junior Race procedures, please contact us by emailing [email protected].

References

1) Government Covid-19 general advice for England (here)

2) Sport England Covid-19 advice (here)

3) England Athletics Covid Guidance (here)

4) Update: Athletics and Running activity will not be affected by the new restrictions 10th September 2020 (here)

5) Government Additional Local Restrictions (here)

6) The risk of infection is low outdoors, where "normal conventions of personal space and natural social distancing" are respected - Rapid Scoping Review of Evidence of Outdoor Transmission of COVID-19 (Centre for Sport, Physical Education & Activity Research (spear) at Canterbury Christ Church University) (here)

7) “There are exceptions where groups can be larger than 6 people. These include...organised sport or exercises classes or licensed outdoor physical activity.” - Guidance Coronavirus (COVID-19): Meeting with others safely (social distancing) (here, updated 14 September 2020)

8) “You shouldn’t travel with someone from outside your household unless you can practise social distancing - for example by cycling. It is not possible to practice effective social distancing in small vehicles.” - Guidance for the public on the phased return of outdoor sport and recreation in England (here, updated 15 September 2020)

9) England Athletics, A Return To Restricted Training Activity And Ability To Access Track Venues – Athletics And Running Health And Safety Guidance (here)

10) WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 - 5 June 2020 (here) via ITRA Covid-19 Race Organizer´s Standard Operating Guidelines (here)

11) WHO Advice: Coronavirus Infographic. 09/03/2020 (here) via ITRA Covid-19 Race Organizer´s Standard Operating Guidelines (here)

12) WHO Advice: COVID-19: physical distancing. 14/06/2020 (here) via ITRA Covid-19 Race Organizer´s Standard Operating Guidelines (here)

13) Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer travel guidance for passengers (here)

14) NHS Check if you or your child has coronavirus symptoms (here)

15) Guidance Return to recreational team sport framework Updated 15 September 2020 (here)

16) Appendix 1 of Guidance Return to recreational team sport framework Updated 15 September 2020 (here)
(click image for full size version)

(click image for full size version)

17) COVID-19: guidance for first responders (here, updated 22 September 2020)

18) Sport England Guidance (here, accessed 23 September 2020)

19) Guidance Coronavirus (COVID-19): Meeting with others safely (social distancing) Updated 22 September 2020, Exemption from rule of six for "organised outdoor sport or licensed outdoor physical activity, and supervised sporting activity (indoors or outdoors) for under-18s" (here)

20) Public Health England: Coronavirus (COVID-19) - what you need to know. "Under most circumstances, the amount of infectious virus on any contaminated surfaces is likely to have decreased significantly by 24 hours, and even more so by 48 hours." (here)

21) "Neck Gaiters" study, J Pan and L Marr, Civil and Environmental Engineering of Virginia Tech (here)

22) GOV.UK - Local COVID alert levels: what you need to know (here)

23) Sport England current guidance (here, accessed 16th October 2020)

24) Guidance update – step 3 (21st October 2020), England Athletics (here, accessed 28th October 2020)

25) New guidance announced for athletics and running following latest national lockdown restrictions (4th November 2020), England Athletics (here, accessed 5th November 2020)

26) Guidance update (27 November 2020), England Athletics (here)

27) Guidance update (20 December 2020), England Athletics (here)

28) Coronavirus (COVID-19): grassroots sports guidance for the public and sport providers, UK Government. Updated 25th March 2021. Updated 8th April 2021. (here)

29) National lockdown: Stay at Home, UK Government (here)

30) Guidance update (8 January 2021), England Athletics (here)

31) COVID-19 RESPONSE − SPRING 2021, UK Government (here)

Notes

PLEASE NOTE:
This guidance is for English fell running only which is under the jurisdiction of the Fell Runners Association. For details of Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland guidance, please refer to the website of the relevant organisation: