This page will be updated as the situation develops. Please check back regularly for updates.
It has become apparent over the previous few days that the global COVID-19 (‘Coronavirus’) pandemic will have serious consequences for the 2020 event calendar. Many major events have now been cancelled or postponed, and smaller events are currently deciding how to respond to this rapidly changing situation as new rules, regulations, and recommendations have been released by national and state governments as well as sports governing bodies.
Whilst these are unprecedented times for all of us, we want you all to know that your wellbeing is our number one priority. The endurance sport community is founded on a shared belief of mutual support in the face of adversity. We are confident that if we work together we will come out of it stronger and more resilient than we entered.
A Word on the Event Organisers
All of us at Let’s Do This know just how frustrating this is for participants – to have an event cancelled once you’ve bought the entry and put in all the hard work of physically and mentally preparing yourself for the challenge can be hugely disappointing. As disappointing as it is, however, during this time please do spare a thought for your event organiser, as this outbreak puts many of their livelihoods at risk.
Organising events is a low-margin business at the best of times. Most events taking place in the next few months will already have incurred significant setup costs. Having to cancel or postpone their events puts huge pressures on both their businesses and themselves personally. Please bear with them as they try to find the best possible resolution for both participants and themselves in these unprecedented and confusing circumstances.
The Current State of Play
The situation is changing rapidly, but Let’s Do This is here to help support and give guidance where we can. Please remember that the following is just guidance from Let’s Do This regarding the effects of COVID-19 on endurance events and that we are continually monitoring government updates both in the UK and abroad regarding the pandemic and resultant best practices.
Is it safe to attend mass participation events?
The UK government, as of Monday 23th March, updated their guidance surrounding social distancing practices in the UK in order to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. As the situation continues to escalate and rules around the world become more stringent, the UK government has reacted in turn. In the UK, all public gatherings of more than 2 people who do not reside together are now prohibited, and residents may only leave their house for exercise once a day, keeping at least 2m (6ft) between others when they do so. These measures are enforceable by the police, who now have the power to disperse gatherings and issue fines.
With additional measures mandating the closure of all non-essential shops, UK inhabitants’ favourite pastimes of going to sporting events, the local pub, theatres and other social venues are now out of the question.
In response to lighter measures released on March 16th 2020, England Athletics has advised that all face-to-face activity, including club training sessions, events, competitions, and even committee meetings, should be suspended until at least the end of April. Scottish Athletics, Welsh Athletics, and Athletics Northern Ireland have all issued similar statements advising the suspension of all face-to-face activity until the end of April. The new regulations released on March 23rd may well lead to cancellations further out in the year.
If you develop ANY symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how mild, you are advised to stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms start if you live alone. If you live with others and any of the household has symptoms, all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days, starting from when the first person became ill.
Will all events be cancelled or postponed?
Now that all public gatherings more than 2 people who you do not live with have been banned for 3 weeks beginning March 23rd, we expect that in accordance with both the government and the majority of athletic governing bodies’ guidance, the majority events which have been planned for the months of March and April will be cancelled or postponed. If the new, more stringent rules are not followed, or do not assist in stemming the spreading of the virus, we expect that events further into the year may be forced to cancel. The organisers of the 3 largest UK marathons – London, Brighton and Manchester – have postponed their events until autumn 2020. A community-sourced list of events that have been cancelled worldwide can be found here.
That being said, we are not quite sure yet on how far into the future event organisers will be looking when cancelling their events, but Let’s Do This will keep you updated as the situation develops.
How long will this last?
The governing bodies for athletics in all four Home Nations have currently advised that all sporting events should be cancelled until at least the end of April. While the UK government initially stated that the peak will have passed in the UK by June, this may change as the situation develops, and Let’s Do This will endeavour to keep you updated.
So, What Are The Options?
Following these restrictions and guidelines, participants both in the UK and globally are understandably confused as to what their options are surrounding events they have already signed up for, or were hoping to participate in. Below we have tried to answer as many of these questions as we can, with the hope to further expand our offering in the upcoming weeks:
How do I find out about the status and/or contingency plan for an event that I have already booked?
If you booked an event through Let’s Do This, then please refer to your original Confirmation Email for the organiser’s email address – check your spam folder if you can’t find it. Please contact them directly via email, or check their website for details. They are best-placed to answer your queries.
We are working on updating events as fast as we can on our site, and linking you to the most valuable information regarding the status of your event.
My original event has already been postponed/cancelled – what are my options?
While we understand that having your event cancelled is highly disappointing, we at Let’s Do This see no reason for all your training and dedication to go to waste, nor to stop. Current regulations in the UK deem that going outside once a day for running, cycling or training is acceptable during this time, however, you must keep at least 2 metres away from anyone you do not live with while you do it. Thankfully, the rise of technology and demand for mass participation events is paving the way for exciting new ways to connect with events and build the communities that they foster.
Entering virtual events and creating accounts on participation platforms such as Strava are fantastic ways to participate in your dream events from the convenience of your current location; reducing the need to travel, interact with mass crowds, or even leave the comfort of your own home. Many event organisers have already begun offering virtual events, and here at Let’s Do This we are working on creating an epic virtual event experience for our users.
While entering a smaller event in lieu of cancellation may have previously been a viable option, with new guidelines in place it is likely that for the next couple of months even smaller events will be forced to postpone or cancel. That being said, when social distancing measures ease in the future, it is likely that smaller, local events will be the ones to bounce back the quickest. Many events on Let’s Do This have smaller field sizes, and we will help you understand and make the most of this when these events come back on the market.
Let’s Do This, Together
There can be no doubt that we are facing unprecedented times. We are all in this together, and we at Let’s Do This remain absolutely committed to helping people find and enjoy epic experiences for as long as it’s safe to do so. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us, as we plan to be with you every step of the way.