An Update From Red Rose Road Runners Chairman, Phil Butler

Firstly thank you for your continued support for your club and I hope you are all getting out running and enjoying the summer. I know that many of you have been tackling the various challenges and charity collection activities that have been organised so far by our wonderful members. From informal fun like the rainbow tops, charity giving like the collections for local food banks, and virtual challenges and organised virtual race events like our own Worden Park 10K or the Manchester to Blackpool interclub relay. Thank you to everyone taking part and everyone organising these events.

Coming up we are developing a new virtual challenge, possibly on the theme of the Land’s End to John O’Groats and set over 4 days with a variety of distances involved. Keep your eyes open for the details coming soon.

Much has happened this week and it is important to keep you all up to speed with what is currently a fast changing situation. On Monday 20th July we held a virtual committee meeting to discuss our club response and consider the new guidelines published on the 17th July by England Athletics for a return to club activity. Then on the 21st July runbritain published their Covid-19 Guidance for Road Race and Multi-Terrain Race Organisers.

After carefully considering the EA guidelines we have concluded that we will not be able to return to normal club running just yet. As we mainly meet and run on roads, footpaths and public parks, we feel that it would not be possible to provide a Covid-19 secure environment for our members or for the public and we have to be guided by the rules. Certain facilities (UCLAN Track and Mondays Test Track are also still closed to the public.

However we are putting in place certain measures that will allow us to hold club sessions again. Rest assured we have been working together as a committee behind the scenes to find a way for the return of organised running in a safe environment, and we feel the new guidelines do give us some encouragement. If we can identify some ‘secure’ routes, develop a Covid-19 action plan and risk assessment for each, undertake some additional training with our leaders, introduce a booking system and a track and trace protocol, we think we will soon be back to offering Red Rose led runs to small groups.  We will be piloting a number of options over the coming week to see how they will work – so please watch out for further emails and messages via our Facebook group and page. We are going to have to make changes to how we do things and all our members will have a part to play in following the new rules. Unfortunately whilst the headline from UKA was that we could meet again in unlimited numbers, the detail is quite clear that we can only meet in groups of 12 if we can provide a safe environment with a trained leader, or up to 6 if the environment is not secure.

In the meantime, For informal running with friends we suggest the following advice: Remember, stay at home if you are unwell; stick to social distancing at all times; run in small groups only and never more than 6; don’t congregate at the start or end of runs; don’t travel with others outside your household to or from meeting points; be aware of and courteous towards any members of the public you meet on your run; and please remember to keep numbers below 6.

We have taken the difficult decision to cancel the Red Rose interclub race 2nd September as the venue (Worden Park) is not available and we feel we cannot run the event in line with the latest EA guidelines. Chorley have just confirmed that their fixture on the 12th August at Astley Park is also cancelled.

As I said, on Monday evening runbritain published their Covid-19 Guidance for Road Race and Multi-Terrain Race Organisers. In response the organisers of City of Preston 5 & 10 mile road races have surprised us by announcing that the races are still on from the village hall in Walmer Bridge on the 9th August. It will be really interesting to see how this goes as I know that a lot of Red Rose runners are already in the 600 strong field. If you are running please be careful, maintain social distance and follow any instructions from the marshals. Remember with your vest on you are representing the club.

We’re monitoring the situation closely and will be adapting as things change. We look forward to holding Red Rose training again soon.

Thank you for your continued patience.

Stay safe, have fun and keep running.