Latest updates

  • 22th October 2020 - updated to include COVID tier system.

  • 3rd October 2020 - first published.




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.


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

Updates:

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)

Summary of Activities

as at 30th September 2020

Races can take place with unlimited numbers in a Covid-safe environment (3)

Localised restrictions may be in place or imposed at very short notice that can affect the event (5)

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

Travelling restrictions need to be adhered to by participants (13)

(From 17th October 2020) The Government advises you should not travel into or out of a Very High alert level area (22).

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 remain 2m from each other or otherwise 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 not possible but we can have ‘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 a 2m distance from participants. Where this is not possible, 1m+ with face coverings must be adhered to.

Participants should disperse as soon as possible after finishing.

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 your own food and water where possible.

Travelling
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 stay aware of any local lockdown measures and restrictions enforced in your local area. These may be put in place by the Government at short notice and restrictions may vary across different areas. Details can be found here

(From 17th October 2020) The Government advises you should not travel into or out of a Very High alert level area (22).

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.

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 be different in 2021; 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 – 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 stay aware of any local lockdown measures and restrictions enforced in your local area. These may be put in place by the Government at short notice and restrictions may vary across different areas. Details can be found here.

(From 17th October 2020) The Government advises you should not travel into or out of a Very High alert level area (22).

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 remain 2m from each other or otherwise 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.

Start - Mass starts are not possible but we can have ‘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 keep a minimum of 1m from participants at all times and whenever possible more than 2m. Marshals less than 2m from participants to wear face covering. 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 should be discouraged from attending 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.

Travelling- 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.

(From 17th October 2020) The Government advises you should not travel into or out of a Very High alert level area (22).

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

Licensing - a reminder that all previous licences issued prior to 21st July 2020 are invalid; new licences will be required by application to Dave Bowen, Fixtures Secretary. Please refer to email “2020 FRA Race Licensing” dated 25/09/2019 or contact Dave for further clarification (07568 092534 or [email protected]). Link to Licence Application form is here

Local restrictions may be in place from Borough and County Councils. Permission from the Local Authority is required prior to licensing. It is the Race Organiser’s responsibility to ensure these regulations are adhered to at the venue of the race. Details can be found here.

Brief Checklist

Regional Regulations - review any local restrictions which may be in force in the area of your venue. Government advice can be found here

Check with Local Authority and Landowners of private land to gain approval for the race and review any additional measures they may impose.

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.

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

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)

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: