As of today, the global situation regarding Covid-19 is still extremely serious, unclear and dynamic. Whilst in the grand scheme of things, running events are not in the least bit important, there are a lot of runners and volunteers within our community, who have forward planned races with us and who will be wondering what the current situation is with regards to those going ahead, postponing or cancelling. For lots of those us, having a race to look forward to provides focus and hope in otherwise difficult times and we are keen to keep things scheduled as they are until we know for sure that it is not possible to stage an event. Here in the UK where over 95% of our runners reside, we are also able to run and train every day. For those who are unsure or unclear on how to train during this period, please refer to this article written by James the RD at Centurion.
The aim of this post is to give our community the maximum amount of information that we can at this stage and to explain how or why that might change.
Everything laid out below is the best vantage point on the future that we can offer. Of course, the details may change or have to be changed further down the line and we ask you to be patient with us if that is necessary. But we have gone as far as we can to make things as clear as possible.
Firstly, if you are a frontline worker in the ongoing crisis then we will most happily accept a request to defer to 2021 or cancel your entry for 2020. We’ve implemented this for all events up to the NDW100 in August but we will consider this for any of our 2020 events if you need. Email us by clicking here if you need to do so.
As of today, the calendar is unchanged following the 4 initial postponements and cancellations earlier in March. The primary option for each event is to go ahead, with risk mitigation and reduced transmission potential. We can’t outline the exact details of that at this point, because if we are in a situation where public gatherings are permitted by mid June, we don’t know how many people that will be limited to and/or which of these measures we might need to use. We may look at all or none of the following:
Removing race registration, bibs to be posted out in advance
No kit check at the start, a smaller number of random kit checks to be performed on course
Rolling wave starts of small numbers over wide windows
Check points reverting to drop bags instead of standard check points
Sanitiser provision at every aid station, start and finish
Government mandate banning public gatherings - the size of those gatherings also is clearly a key factor.
The NHS being overwhelmed - no organiser can in good conscience go ahead in a situation where the NHS is pushed to the limit, but if that is the case then the primary point will stand anyway and the government will not permit large gatherings
Governing body and hence insurance for the events is withdrawn for any given race date
Landowners retracting or removing permissions to use locations as start/ finish venues or key check points
Inability to safely staff or get volunteers to and from the event
The ability to shield all parties from transmission of the virus
South Downs Way 100 13th-14th June: If the event is not viable on the given dates then we will postpone the event until the weekend of 7th - 8th November. In that instance, all entries will be carried forward to the new date, runners will not need to do anything. If a runner is unwilling or unable to race the new date then they will be eligible for a 70% refund, any time up to 4 weeks prior to race day. If the event is not able to take place on 6th - 7th November, then it will be cancelled until 2021. Scroll down for what happens in the event of a cancellation.
North Downs Way 50 4th July 2020: If the event is not viable on the given date then we will postpone the race until November 28th 2020. In that instance, all entries will be carried forward to the new date, runners will not need to do anything. If a runner is unwilling or unable to race the new date then they will be eligible for a 70% refund, any time up to 4 weeks prior to race day. If the event is not able to take place on 28th November, then it will be cancelled until 2021. Scroll down for what happens in the event of a cancellation.
Wendover Woods 50km 17th-18th July: If the event is not viable on the given dates then we will postpone the event until Saturday 14th November, the same weekend as the Wendover Woods 50 mile so that it takes place at night as the original format - a possible 1700 start time. The 50km will be run as a separate race alongside the latter stages of the 50 mile. In that instance, all entries will be carried forward to the new date, runners will not need to do anything. If a runner is unwilling or unable to race the new date then they will be eligible for a 70% refund, any time up to 4 weeks prior to race day. If the event is not able to take place on 14th November, then it will be cancelled until 2021. If you are entered in both the 50 mile and 50km at Wendover and the 50km is postponed to November, you will have the option to cancel either. Scroll down for what happens in the event of a cancellation.
If any of the NDW100, TP100, CW50, A100, SDW50 or WW50 are not vialble in 2020, then they will be cancelled to 2021. Scroll down for what happens in the event of a cancellation.
That we are not in a position to answer right now. We anticipate that around 6 weeks from race day it will be much clearer if there is a chance that an event can still go ahead. We will make the decision by reviewing the situation daily, exactly as we are now. As soon as we are able to confirm either proceeding or cancelling we will do so immediately via mail out to competitors and via all of our social media channels.
Initially for the SDW100 in mid June we will update runners weekly via social media and fortnightly via email from today.
If any of our events is cancelled in 2020, then all entrants will have the option to defer their place to the 2021 event at no cost. If you can't make the new date you can receive a 70% refund of your 2020 fee. The decision on whether to cancel or defer must be made within 2 weeks of the announcement that an event is cancelled. There will be no refunds available on any deferred entry, for any reason, after the two weeks have subsided, so you must decide at that point to commit to 2021. This is because the cost to us of missing a year of the event and allowing deferals with no fee is heavy financially and we must know what we are dealing with as a business as soon as possible should this be required, so that we can plan properly for a difficult period ahead.
If this situation transpires, please read through the post here for full details. It is not a decision we want to have to make but it is the very best we can do in the circumstances we all face.
Whilst many events are cancelling to 2021 rather than postpone into an already busy second half of the year, we obviously have the additional challenge of trying to keep the Grand Slam of 50s and 100s alive for almost 200 of our 2020 entrants in either the 50 or 100 mile slam. As such we will look to postpone up to three more events before we cancel to 2021.
Any 2020 event that goes ahead will act as part of the 2020 Grand Slam. If an event is cancelled in 2020, then the 2021 edition of that event will count towards both the 2020 Grand Slam and the 2021 Grand Slam. Examples:
Eg. 2020 NDW100 is cancelled but the other three 100s go ahead. 2020 Grand Slam of 100s will include the 2020 TP100, A100, SDW100 and the 2021 NDW100.
Eg. 2020 NDW50 and CW50 are cancelled. 2020 Grand Slam of 50s will include 2020 SDW50, WW50 and 2021 NDW50 and CW50
We will be opening 2021 events in the usual time frame irrespective of the ongoing situation and irrespective of the fact that some events will not have taken place in 2020, before the 2021 event is launched. The first example of this is the 2021 South Downs Way 50 which will open for registrations in mid-May, date TBC shortly. The TP100 will follow in mid June and so on and so forth.
What happens if I enter the 2021 event, but then the 2020 event gets cancelled and my entry deferred at no cost, such that I have two entries to the same event?
At that point we will cancel your paid for entry and refund you in full.
Your entry will automatically be carried over to the 2021 event at no cost.
Before answering this it is important to define the double slam. The 50 and 100 mile grand slams are separate ‘events’ and awards are presented for the achievement of either the 50 or 100 mile slam. The double slam is not an official event. Whilst we recognise it on the website statistics in the form of the 600 club, there are no awards for the Double Slam - much in the same way as the downs double - it is a record keeping exercise only. Running eight extremely arduous events in close proximity to one another is not something we will ever actively promote. Nevertheless we recognise that for a very select few - usually 5 or so runners each year, this is a journey they want to test themselves against. Anybody entered the double slam for this year who now has events on back to back weekends either has the opportunity to test themselves against a truly arduous task, or to try either the 50 or 100 mile slam with an event or two added on and go for the double slam another year. If we could spread the events out any more, we would do so, but it is not possible for a raft of reasons. This schedule will take a massive toll on volunteers and staff, so please consider that we really do empathise if your dream is now even harder to attain. But for the 13 double slam entrants for 2020 we wish you luck if you choose to accept the task and will support you every step of the way.
If you have any questions on any of the above please just ask. Thank you to our community for pulling together and providing support for both us and each other during this difficult situation. Special thanks to the many front line workers fighting to keep the country safe and working, we are greatly indebted to you all.