Return to Running with Tuesday Pilot Sessions

The New Normal
31st July 2020

Striders - on your marks . . . . . . .
 
After much careful consideration and discussion Striders committee and coaching team, following England Athletics guidelines, have worked out a way that we can run paced groups to restart our famous Tuesday evening sessions.

This week we were invited to a Zoom meeting of the GPAN group of running clubs and I am pleased to report that our thinking is very much in line with other local clubs. 

On Tuesday 4th August the club will be running the first of these as a Pilot Session which will, subject to review, let us get back to some sort of club running.  But please not that our plans may have to change at very very short notice, we will be keeping a watch on UKA, EA and the national news as we get closer to the 4th.
 
To be able to run in groups we are defining the sessions as operating in a Covid Secure Environment which do not have a head count limit but there are big differences to how we normally run shoulder to shoulder – there won’t be any of that !!
 
Please read through the ‘rules’ – sorry there are so many but we to do this we must be responsible to ourselves and we have quite a high profile in the town so if we run in groups at all it is important that we make a strong statement with our actions that we are ‘doing it right’.
 
How it will all work : 

  • All runners need to be current or recent members of Striders, these are not a Facebook Group runs – they are Striders Club Member runs.                
  • Names will be taken by a Running Leader and you will all be asked the standard questions about being symptom free etc etc. Anyone who becomes symptomatic within 7 days of the run agrees to tell the club and we will submit the group names and contact details to the government track and trace system. You do risk being tracked and traced.
  • Everyone who joins us will do so entirely at their own risk and turning up to run will be a de facto disclaimer that : 
You have assessed that you do not pose an undue risk to others, in particular that you are not symptomatic, have not tested positive or been in close contact with anyone who has and that you do not fall under current government advice to self-isolate.
 
You accept any risk to yourself.

  • Before, during and after the run please make a point to any casual observer that we are social distancing by keeping more than 2 metres apart.
 
The actual runs :
  
  • We think we have enough leaders committed to run AA, A, B, C and D groups. Paces and distances between stops will be about the same as normal.

  • Each group will start at a different time and we will use at least 2 different start points, some from Borderville and some from the Cattle Market. I am working on routes and start points and hope to publish by Monday 3rd August.
     
  • There will be no opportunity to change group during the run – groups will not have combined stops. If groups happen to pass each other en-route please do not swap groups.
     
  • These pilot runs will be almost entirely out of town.
     
  • Runs will be social distanced – by getting out in groups we are making a big statement and we will be featured in the local press, we need to run single file spaced with 2m between each of us. These are not ‘shoulder to should’ runs.
     
  • We will go out of our way to be the ones to give pointedly large distances to anyone we come across while running and will cover our nose and mouth with our hands if we have to pass too close on a narrow footpath.
     
  • First Aiders will carry at least 2 masks and gloves in case of a trip or fall and will carry a mobile phone. 

As part of our work we took specific medical advice which I have included below for anyone who is interested :
      
Background
 
Regular running improves general fitness, strengthens the immune system and promotes weight control, all of which have been shown to be protective against the complications of Covid-19. Sunlight on the skin is the most important source of Vitamin D, so you boost levels when you run outdoors and this is important for proper immune function. Many have suffered from the social isolation of lockdown. Running in green space has been shown to promote psychological wellbeing and when you belong to a running club like the Stamford Striders you have an instant support network of friends.
 
Covid-19 has a fatty coat and so can survive up to 3 days on surfaces which harbour grease like plastic, metal (apart from copper which is toxic to the virus) and glass (so smartphone screens!). It dies quickly on surfaces which desiccate or soak up grease like newspaper or untreated wood. Similarly soap, 70% alcohol and ultraviolet sunlight all break down the fatty coat of the virus and kill it.
 
Running advice 
  • Gloves should be avoided when running. If an individual wants to wear them (same goes for hats, headbands etc) they should be regarded as infected after use and bagged. On returning home they should be washed in warm soapy water or put through the wash.
  • Face masks are not necessary when running and are a potential source of heavy contamination after use. If an individual wants to wear them they should bin them or bag them after removal and wash their hands immediately . If reusable, then on returning home the mask should be washed in warm soapy water or put through the wash. The latest thinking is that masks when running will increase risk not reduce it.
  • All Striders should be aware that there is an increased risk if they are in the ABC group (Age > 60, BAME, Chronic diseases)
  • We need to maintain a strict awareness of social distancing (2m or whatever guidance is in place at the time), hand washing and avoiding touching the face
  • Any Strider returning from abroad must follow the advice regarding quarantine requirements detailed on the Government Website

So there you have it - if you are well and feel comfortable with all the new rules you are welcome but in any case keep running, keep fit, as the good doctors say, it's a jolly good defence.
  
Robin Ball
Stamford Striders Covid-19 co-ordinator
 
Stamford Striders Chairman, Nick Wells & Committee
 
Stamford Striders Head Coach Cameron Harris & Coaches and Running Leaders