Following on from our recent test event (footage HERE), below are some of the key learnings from our attempt at bringing a safe return to racing this summer.
You can find out more about the format of the event in a previous post, available HERE
- Participants pre registered for the event, and submitted expected finish times as part of the registration form
- Detailed instructions were emailed to each participant outlining the timetable and our expectations of them once they arrived on site.
- They were then grouped in pods of 4 or 5 for the race, based on their expected finish time
- On arrival, they were provided with hand sanitizer, had their temperature checked and were asked to stand in a disinfectant mist tent for 5 seconds
- They were then asked to meet at a holding area 5 minutes before their wave / pod was due to start, observing social distancing at all times
We found that this worked well with 40 athletes. Space is the most important thing here, so if there is a holding area big enough to take the number of athletes you wish to cater for while adhering to social distancing requirements, then putting on bigger races is certainly achievable. Considerations need to be given to parking, outdoor registration, santization and toilet facilities. Barriers / Cones / one way systems need to be built into any pre race plan.
During the Race:
- Participants started in groups of 4/5, leaving the start line every 30 seconds over a start mat
- They were asked to run in single file where possible. We will be revising this advice at the next event, side by side or “on the shoulder” running will be advised
- Participants raced against each other in their pod, but with the fastest pods going first, the aim was that each pod would not be passed by anyone in a different pod. This was 95% successful. It is dependent on athletes being honest with their expected finish time
From our post race survey, 100% of athletes said they felt safe, and that they enjoyed the revised time trial format. Over 75% or runners recorded PB’s and many of these attributed that to racing athletes of similar ability from the gun. The format was extremely well received.
- Participants received a bottle of water at the finish and were encouraged to return to their cars as soon as possible
- Results were done off CHIP TIME on the night (available HERE)
The finish area was quite tight and we did not have the space to operate a 1 way system to move athletes away after they crossed the line. Space is vitally important at the finish and should dictate how many runners you want in your race.
We will be trialing this format again at a number of events in the next month, and will look at increasing the pod size to 10, and increasing numbers to 80 athletes per event.
If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact me directly via email.