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Running news

16 November 2020, 9am

“Get Britain Running” founded to improve health, raise awareness and support charities

Partnership to help charities through pandemic

Five of the UK’s leading mass running event organisers have created Get Britain Running, a partnership to facilitate collaboration and innovation and to support the wider mass participation industry through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

During the first national lockdown physical activity levels across England plummeted, with 30% of adults being ‘inactive’ between March and May and almost 12 million doing almost no exercise. Being overweight and unfit increases the risk of catching COVID-19 and increases the risk of serious complications, hospitalisation and death.

The campaign encourages the government and local authorities to put the promotion of exercise at the forefront of the recovery plan from COVID-19, and to review restrictions on races in line with consistent evidence of the low risk of transmission of COVID-19 at outdoor participatory sporting events.

In the meantime a series of officially-licensed virtual events from Get Britain Running’s event organisers will enable people from all walks of life to improve their exercise habits by working towards a goal and earning rewards and medals. Runners will be able to share their progress and find training tips on Get Britain Running’s online community platform.

Participatory sporting events have been among the most significantly impacted industries as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Running is the most popular sport in the UK, enjoyed by 7.5 million adults each week. Running is also the most accessible of participation sports, requiring minimal equipment or infrastructure. It was one of only two sports to see a significant increase in participation during the first national lockdown, whilst restrictions on gyms, leisure centres and team sports caused general physical activity levels to drop throughout England.

Get Britain Running aims to research, document and circulate supporting evidence and guidelines for enabling COVID-19-compliant participatory sporting events. Current guidelines need to be amended in line with consistent evidence of the low risk of transmission of COVID-19 at such events and expanded to ensure events of all sizes are covered. This would empower race organisers to provide participants with safe and secure environments with minimal impact on the race day experience. The partnership will also raise wider awareness of the challenges faced by the industry, lobbying for action and financial support from the sport’s governing bodies and the government.

Many of the UK’s charities rely on mass participation events for a significant percentage of their funding. With supporters unable to take part in events revenues have been slashed in 2020. Get Britain Running aims to provide support through virtual events to give charity supporters an avenue to continue their fundraising in the temporary absence of physical events.

See: #GetBritainRunning on social media.

The Get Britain Running partnership comprises the event management companies Frontrunner (Wales), Running High Events (*Bath Half Marathon), ReesLeisure (Southampton Marathon), Milton Keynes Marathon and RunFest (London).

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