Guidance for taking part in socially distanced group runs

Keeping fit and active is one of the best defences against Covid-19, both physically and mentally. Claremont Road Runners are happy to encourage socially distanced training sessions for those that are interested.

We suggest that if you are interested in running with others you use email, Facebook etc to arrange to meet with others and run together.

Sessions should be limited to six or fewer people and you should remain at least 2 metres from others.

1. If you are feeling at all unwell then please do not run.

2. Consider if your health, or someone you live with, places you in a more vulnerable category with respect to Covid. Decide whether it is appropriate for you to take part in group sessions. Advice is available online.

3. It is everyone’s responsibility to obey social distancing rules. If you feel others are not sticking to the rules, then say something.

4. There will be no toilet or changing facilities at sessions, so arrive ready to run.

5. Consider how if you suffer an injury, you will you get home or first aid? You may want to carry cash, a card or first aid kit

6. If you have not trained for some time, then take it easy to begin with. Injuries are much more common if you have had a period of less stressful training.

7. If you test positive for Covid-19 after a running with others, then please inform the club and those you have trained with so they can take appropriate action.

8. Please follow England Athletics produced guidelines.

Running Risk Assessment

HazardRiskPrecautionRevised risk
The coronavirus is transmitted by infected persons exhaling water droplets containing the virusHighAssume that everyone you meet is infectious. Stay alert and maintain social distancingLow
The virus can stay alive on various surfaces for several daysHighDo not touch anything unnecessarily. Do not touch any part of your face without removing your gloves or washing your hands firstLow
Exercising near an infected person for an extended period greatly increases the risk of inhaling the virusHigh1) Do not run directly behind another runner. If you have to run in line, allow at least 4 metres from the runner in front. This can be reduced if you run diagonally behind them2) Where space allows, run alongside each other rather than in line Low
Although a runner is moving too quickly to have a significant risk of being infected by other pedestrians etc that they pass, runners can leave a cloud of infected aerosol vapour behind that could infect othersHighMaintain a safe distance of at least 2 metres from other road/footpath users.Give warning of approach so that others can take greater avoiding action if they wishLow

Background

Covid-19 is a viral illness that affects the respiratory tract and causes difficulty in breathing. There is no cure. Treatment consists of aggressively supporting the patient in breathing until either their own immune system develops antibodies to combat the virus or the patient dies from multiple organ failure.

As a runner exercising outside it is unlikely that you will be in contact with anyone suffering from symptoms of Covid-19. 

There have been 7297 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in our region as at the end of May 

South Tyneside: 748
North Tyneside: 629
Sunderland: 1,385
Newcastle: 1,073
Northumberland: 1,042
Gateshead: 1,011
County Durham: 2,038

In May there were 33 deaths per 100,000 people in the NE Region compared to 15.7 in London.

However, research indicates that a significant number of people have tested positive for the disease without displaying any symptoms at all and it has also been established that people can be infectious before they experience symptoms and after they have stopped experiencing any symptoms of the disease. 

Without mass testing it is impossible to calculate the likelihood of being in contact with someone who is spreading coronavirus. Public Health advice is, therefore, to assume that everyone you come into contact with is a potential source of infection.

The virus is spread in vapour droplets exhaled by the host. The virus can then be inhaled directly by anyone in the vicinity or land on any surface within range. They can then be picked up by anyone who touches that surface and transferred to their face, nose mouth or eyes.

 In normal circumstances these droplets are unlikely to travel more than 2 metres, so that has been established as a safe distance for social interaction In general, researchers agree that air circulationoutdoors seems to strongly inhibit transmission of the coronavirus. In a study of more than 7,300 coronavirus cases in China, just one was connected to outdoor transmission. 

Julian Tang, a virologist and a professor at the University of Leicester suggests that the risk of infection from quickly passing someone is low, because the “massive air volume will dilute any exhaled virus and the wind may carry it away.”

However, when it comes to running in groups, the situation is somewhat different. There have been some studies done in enclosed environments in Holland and Belgium of groups of people walking, running and cycling

It appears that social distancing plays less of a role for 2 people in a low wind environment when running/walking next to each other. The droplets land behind the duo. When you are positioned diagonally behind each other the risk is also smaller to catch the droplets of the lead runner. The risk of contamination is the biggest when people are just behind each other, in each other’s slipstream.

On the basis of these results these scientists advises that for walking the distance of people moving in the same direction in-line should be at least 4–5 metres, for running and slow biking it should be 10 metres and for hard biking at least 20 metres. Some doubt has been cast onto this study because it ignores the role of air movement in dispersing the aerosol cloud.

There has been some debate about whether or not it is better to wear a mask or at least some sort of face covering while running. As a general rule, masks do little to protect the wearer. They are of more value to prevent the virus spreading to others from an infected person. 

The general conclusion is that the difficulties of breathing while running outweigh any benefit that might be gained from wearing any sort of mask but whether you wear a mask or not, pay attention to the position of people around you. Dr. Benjamin D. Levine, a professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center and Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas, is advising the U.S. track and field team on how to train safely. He urges focusing on what he calls the four Ds: “double the distance” from six to 12 feet and “don’t draft,” meaning “don’t run directly behind someone so you are continually running into and breathing their expired air.”

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