England Athletics, in collaboration with the other Home Country Athletics Federations & UKA, today announced that the suspension period for athletics competitions is extended until at least 30 June 2020. As a result, we have also announced the postponement of our U20/U23 Track & Field Championships (due to take place on 6/7 June in Bedford).
For more detail on the announcement and an update on the proactive planning work taking place around competitions, visit: 👉https://bit.ly/2KIgKtr
Whilst all licensed competition events in our sport scheduled up to 30 June 2020 are suspended, we will continue to review the wider suspension of all other athletics activity outside of competition (currently set to 31 May 2020). We will wait for a further announcement from the UK government in relation to the nationwide coronavirus lockdown period, expected during week commencing 4 May, before further reviewing and updating on the current suspension period covering all other athletics activity.
Updated 24 March at 11am
Following the further restrictions on movement put in place by the UK Government last night, UKA and the Home Country Athletics Federations have made the following updates to our previous statement issued on 17 March:
Extending the suspension of all athletics activity in England to the 31 May. [Initially this had been agreed to the end of April]. This suspension includes all organised athletics activity in the UK, including all competitions, formal club activities, running groups, and all Education activity (coach, official, teacher).
Strengthening our position on coaching activity – We are now mandating that all physical coaching ceases, and only be conducted via virtual means during this period. Bringing groups of people together to train, however small, can no longer be permitted under the strict ‘Stay at home’ measures implemented by the UK Government.
These decisions have not been taken lightly and have been made in light of the continuing and real risk to life and to the NHS posed by the spread of the COVID-19 virus in England. We must now to all we can do. We would ask that the athletics community in England continues to help one another by staying connected and supportive of each other whilst at home in these unprecedented times. We will continue to review the situation in line with Government and Public Health guidance.
In addition to providing clarity to clubs, athletes, runners, coaches and officials, we are acutely aware that a number of competition providers have already made the bold decision to postpone their events in recognition that they stand to incur additional contractual costs on facilities that they have booked should they not make that decision now. We will continue to review this decision as the government guidance evolves but one thing is clear and that is that athletics, running and sport in general is special and is an important contributor to our way of life but it is very much secondary to protecting and saving lives at this current time.
In its latest measures to contain the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), the UK Government has announced that everyone must now stay at home except in exceptional circumstances.
From last night (Monday 23 March), the only permissible reasons to leave your home are as follows:
To shop for basic necessities and that should be limited to once a day
To take exercise once a day – but alone or with those you live with, no gatherings of more than two people
For medical reasons or to care for a vulnerable person
To travel to essential work if that cannot be done at home. Further guidance to employers is pending.
While athletics is predominantly an outdoor sport that allows athletes to exercise in the fresh air, the message to all of us is clear, we must play our part in containing the spread of COVID-19. We urge our members to utilise the opportunity to exercise as laid out by both governments, but as such, any informal small group training sessions of athletes or face-to-face coached sessions must now cease (*unless they are with your own household members as above).
We have witnessed some very creative home and/or garden-based training sessions (safely of course) during the last week, and we would urge clubs and coaches to continue to be innovative during this period. A number of schools have also been task setting for their pupils and it would be of immense value to continue to engage athletes and your members in similar style tasks for athletics.
There are numerous ways in which people can remain active whether that be core strength training at home, HIIT, Circuits, running and so on (whilst adhering to the government guidance) so we will be actively promoting these. We will of course be pushing out digital content relating to exercising at home during this week thanks to the work of our respective coaching and athlete development team members.
England Athletics CEO Chris Jones commented “We all have a responsibility to play our part in mitigating risk and in reducing the spread of this virus. It will be deflating to many but if we do pull together and adhere to the guidance issued then we will come through this period. In the meantime we will be working tirelessly as partners to provide value to our member clubs, athletes, runners, coaches and volunteers and will be organising activities and providing resources utilising a range of methods such as online forums, webinars and podcasts that will help people prepare for a time when we can all look forward with renewed optimism as an Athletics & Running family.”
These decisions are difficult ones to make, but right now, it is our shared responsibility to prioritise the health of our local communities by working together to follow the Government guidelines. In doing so, this will ensure that we all get back to competing in the sport we love so much sooner.
Following the UK governments response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and in accordance with advice received from England Athletics this morning, we have decided to suspend all formal athletics training with immediate effect.
‘England Athletics advises that all face-to-face activity such as club training sessions, events, competitions, club committee and face-to face meetings, athlete camps, running groups and social events should be suspended until at least the end of April.’
Hopefully the suspension will be short lived, but it is also important that we all remain fit and healthy, so we would encourage continued indoor and outdoor activity in parks and open spaces where you may be able train and still respect government advice.
Your coach may be able to advise you of a plan to keep you going. (All coach contact details are on our website.)
We will use the club Facebook and Twitter accounts to help keep you moving and in contact with your friends at the club, as well as new information as we have it.
We will keep you updated of developments, as soon as we are able, with regard to upcoming competitions during this rapidly changing situation.
A link to the England Athletics statement can be found: here