During the 3 national lock-downs and local level tier systems we have learnt alot about organising events in a Covid secure way. We organised the first licensed event in the UK following first lock-down. James Shipley, ATW’s MD was a guest speaker on a British Triathlon Federation webinar for organising events in a Covid secure way, we also organised one of the only UK marathons to be held in 2020. Here’s the Top 5 things we have learnt about running Covid safe events.
- Having a clear plan.
Here at ATW we put together a clear plan so that team members, volunteers and participants knew what to expect at our events. Don’t forget to think of a Plan B….or C! We understood that some entrants would be nervous. We thought about every aspect of our race and how we could make it Covid safe. Since May last year, we operated open water swimming sessions in a Covid 19 safe way for over 1500 swimmers a week. Based on this experience, we also established safe ways of operating our running and multi-sport events. Since July we have put on running, aquathlon and triathlon events in a safe way and the participants totally enjoyed the experience. Watch our video to see some of the practical ways we approached racing: organisers video and participant video.
- Communicating with councils.
Some local councils being understandably cautious about approving events. We worked hard to have open lines of communication with councils. We attended multiple safety meetings (via Zoom of course) and provided reassurance through meticulous planning documentation. It was great to get this recommendation from a senior local Councillor who took part in one of our races,“Active Training World are to be congratulated on their initiative in meeting all the health and safety requirements to stage last Sunday’s 10K race at Highfield Park. The other runners I spoke to were impressed with the care taken to ensure social distancing. All the advice is that exercise is key to good physical and mental well-being. It is really important that such events are able to re-start.”
Anthony Rowlands, Portfolio Holder for Sport, Heritage and the Public Realm
- Checking you are getting it right.
After each race ATW surveyed the race participants to make sure they were comfortable with the event. The feedback we receive from competitors is overwhelmingly positive. We used a simple Google Form to collect this information in our finishers email.
- Don’t be afraid to do things differently to how your event has been organised before.
Competitors have been extremely understanding on how events need to be organised in this current environment. At our events in 2020 we introduced time trial starts, shorter swim distances for triathlons and a no overtaking zone because it improved the safety and social distancing during the event. We received zero complaints for all of these changes.
- Be in regular contact with your competitors.
If any situations change then be quick to keep your competitors informed and give them as much notice as you can for any changes to the event. They will appreciate the honesty and will be a lot more understanding if they know of any changes early. We have been using regular FB Live sessions and inviting competitors to post questions in advance.
If you want to have a chat about how we do things, or any of the services we offer, please contact us here.
Good luck with planning your next event and stay safe.