Coronavirus – race safety

Coronavirus – race safety

There are a number of steps we are planning to implement in order to ensure that all our runners, volunteers and other members of public are kept as safe as possible and to minimise risks. These are based upon current government guidance which may change between now and race day (August 15th). We will refine these steps over the coming weeks based upon changing guidance and feedback.

Should the government Coronavirus alert levels for the UK increase, or should local lockdown measures be implemented anywhere along the route, we will postpone the race to October. We will continually evaluate the information provided by the government on the lead up to the event, but we remain optimistic that things will improve further over the weeks ahead.

We want to communicate these measures to you in advance of the event to ensure that everyone is prepared before race day and that appropriate social distancing is adhered to, before, during and after the race.

The entire race will safely take place outdoors, including the starting area, aid stations and finish area. As such, the risk of transmission associated with the event is already greatly reduced.

 

General

  • Runners and volunteers should not turn up at the event if they have;
      • A fever of ≥37.8°C on the day of the event;
      • Had any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 in the past 14 days. Such as a new continuous cough, fever, change/loss of taste/smell;
      • Been in contact with anyone who is sick in the past 14 days;
      • Travelled within the past 14 days to any international location with widespread ongoing local COVID-19 transmission.
  • Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 up to 7 days after the event should report it to the race organiser and we will email everyone who attended so they can make the choice to isolate or test;
  • High risk individuals or anyone quarantining from travel abroad are advised not to attend the event;
  • We will check the temperature of every runner as they line up at the start. Anyone with a temperature of ≥37.8°C will not be allowed to start the race. Should any runner be measured at or above this temperature, we will ask them to step away from the starting area and we will measure their temperature again after a short period of time has elapsed;
  • All volunteers to be provided with face masks, Nitrile gloves and hand sanitiser;
  • Supporters and other spectators must remain socially distanced whilst attending the event. Spectator groups must be restricted to discrete six person gathering limits and spread out, in line with wider government guidance. Crowding or congregation must be strictly avoided. As such, supporters and spectators should keep well clear of the start area, aid stations and finish line. There will be an exception for runners who have special needs, where we will allow their support teams to meet them shortly before or after the aid stations;
  • Runners should consider their safety and the safety of others when travelling to and from the event. Ideally getting someone from their household to drive them, or if using public transport, ensuring that they are following the advice of the operator concerning distancing and face covering. Full details of government guidance on this matter can be found here.

 

The weeks leading up to the race

  • Final instructions will be emailed to runners a week before the race;
  • Race briefing will be provided by video in advance of the race;
  • Race numbers with an attached timing chip will be posted to runners. Runners who have not received this by post will be able to pick up a number from the start location;
  • Runners will be expected to sign an electronic liability waiver in advance of the race;
  • Runners will be expected to check their address and medical details are correct on the Race Director website where they previously registered for the event.

 

Registration

  • There will be no kit-check at the start but random checks will be implemented during the race by volunteers with face masks and gloves;
  • Toilets will be available at both the start venues: Memorial Hall, High Street, Newmarket, CB8 8JS (100k) or Quay Theatre, Sudbury, CO10 2AN (50k). If they are not available due to restrictions at the venues, suitable local alternatives will be found;
  • Bag drop will remain the same as before, but bags must be pre-labelled with running numbers before arrival at the bag drop area. Bags will be left at the start locations with our van driver (see addresses above) and will be transported to the finish area. The van driver will be wearing protective equipment when handling the bags. Runners should sanitise their hands before dropping and collecting bags.

 

Race start

  • Runners will be expected to turn up at the race start with their running numbers attached and visible, and ready to start when instructed by the team;
  • Rolling start – small groups of runners (no more than 6 persons) to be set off at a minimum of 3 minute intervals over a period of 2 hours. The overriding principle is that we avoid a mass start, so runners will be provided an approximate start window based upon pace and expected finish time. We must ensure that there less than 30 persons at the start line at any one time. This number is based upon current legal guidelines outlined by the government which may change between now and race day;
  • Start time windows can be found below. There will be some flexibility around these windows. Small groups of runners will be allowed to start together if they plan to run together, as long as there are no more than 6 persons;
  • It will be up to runners to make the decision about their start time. We request that runners be as honest as possible with their projected finish time when deciding on the appropriate start window;
  • We have separate start locations and times for the 100k and 50k races which will naturally reduce the numbers of people being in the same place at the same time.

 

SVP100 start times

Start window Expected 100k finish Guide based upon road marathon pace
6am – 6:30am 14.5 – 15.5hrs 5.5hrs+
6:30am – 7am 13 – 14.5hrs 4 – 5.5hrs
7am – 7:30am 12 – 13hrs 3.5 – 4hrs
7:30am – 8am sub 12hrs sub 3.5hr

 

SVP50 start times

Start window Expected 50k finish Guide based upon road marathon pace
12:00 – 12:30pm 7.5 – 9.5hrs 5.5hrs+
12:30pm – 1pm 6.5 – 7.5hrs 4.5 – 5.5hrs
1pm – 1:30pm 6 – 6.5hrs 4 – 4.5hrs
1:30pm – 2pm sub 6hrs sub 4hr

 

During race

  • Runners will be expected to wear a face covering at aid stations (e.g. Buff, neck gaiter, face mask). A face covering is part of the mandatory kit list for this year, but it does not have to be worn whilst running between aid stations;
  • Runners will carry hand sanitiser as part of the mandatory kit list and will be expected to sanitise their hands before touching any gates / stiles during the race. As usual, all gates must be closed after passing regardless of how close another runner might be behind;
  • There will be mandatory use of hand sanitiser before entering and leaving aid stations. Bottles of hand sanitiser will be provided for this purpose;
  • Appropriate social distancing should be respected at the aid stations. The event will be set up to minimise the chances of congestion at the aid stations, but if there is a small queue please patiently wait your turn should you require food or drink;
  • Runners will serve themselves food and drinks at the aid stations;
  • Water will be available in bottles / jugs / containers at the aid stations and runners will be expected to fill their own bottles. All runners will carry their own bottles / bladders as part of the mandatory kit list;
  • Volunteers at the aid stations will be continually sanitising surfaces touched by the runners;
  • In addition to the usual drinks, only packaged foods will be provided at aid stations. There will be less of a selection of food available than in other years, so runners will be expected to more self-sufficient than usual and carry some of their own energy supplies from the start;
  • The aid station cut-offs will remain the same and are outlined on the race website here for the 100k and here for the 50k – the timings are based upon runners leaving no later than 7am for the 100k and 1pm for the 50k;
  • Overall cut-off times are as normal i.e. 15.5* hours for the 100k and 9.5 hours for the 50k. We will be tracking each runner through the timing chip attached to the race number, and will aim to inform a runner if they have missed the cut-off at the aid station. *note, due to the detour in Dedham this year, it has been decided to allow 100k runners an additional 15 minutes on the overall cut-off time i.e. the SVP100 will now have a cut-off of 15hrs 45. There will be no change to the cut-offs for the 50k race;
  • Runners should be extremely respectful of other runners and footpath users during the race and ensure that adequate distancing is adhered to when passing others. If encountering another footpath user, the runner should slow down, ensure that the footpath user is aware of their presence, and ideally pass with a minimum of 2m distance;
  • When runners are overtaking other runners, they should announce their presence when approaching the runner who is in front. The runner who is in front should then move to their left where possible to ensure there is adequate space on the trail (ideally 2 metres) for the other runner to pass. There are some narrow sections along the course so we ask runners to be patient when overtaking, to avoid taking any unnecessary risks and always observe social distancing guidelines.

 

Finish area

  • There will be no access to showers or cooked food at the finish area;
  • Toilets will be available at the finish area. If they are not available due to restrictions at the venue, suitable local alternatives will be found;
  • Runners will be encouraged to depart the finish area as soon as possible after completing the race;
  • Medals and t-shirts will be laid out on tables for collection by successful runners;
  • Prizes will be handed out promptly rather than at an award ceremony.

 

Medical cover

  • The medical team will be located close to the aid stations so they can observe people entering and leaving for monitoring purposes, but will only get involved if they see an issue;
  • The medical team will wear face masks and gloves (as usual) and we will require runners to wear a face mask when we are interacting with them in close proximity and also require them to use gel sanitiser;
  • Refusal to wear a mask or sanitise means the runner won’t be treated unless there is an urgent requirement to treat something serious;
  • Anyone exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms should not attend. If anyone exhibits symptoms at the event they can be asked to leave at the discretion of the medical team via the race director.

 

Coach and minibus travel

  • We have restricted the number of seats available on the coach to ensure that social distancing can be maintained. Details of all those travelling on the bus will be recorded through pre-purchased tickets. The seats behind the driver will be kept clear;
  • Runners using the coach from Brantham Leisure Centre to Newmarket will be expected to wear a face covering during the journey;
  • Runners who withdraw during the race and therefore use the minibus service will also be expected to wear a face covering. Where possible, minibus windows will be kept open and adequate social distancing should be maintained on the minibus. This may limit the number of runners who can be transported at any one time, so runners will need to be patient and understanding.

 

It is vital that we adhere to government and England Athletics guidelines to ensure the safety of everyone involved with the race, in addition to people living along the route. It goes without saying that any runners who are feeling unwell in the weeks leading up to the event should not be running the race.