Club statement on restrictions due to COVID-19

Dear Road Runners,

I hope you are having a good summer so far and managing under these unprecedented circumstances and still being able to run.

Since we had to pause club activities following the lockdown in March, the committee has still been meeting monthly (but via Zoom) to discuss how we can offer an adapted and/or limited version of activities once restrictions were relaxed.

We now feel we are at the stage that we can function, albeit on a limited basis, as a club. The committee agree that this is important to have a presence as a club and to be able to offer runners the opportunity to meet whilst observing necessary guidelines recommended by England Athletics due to COVID-19.

I can announce that from Wednesday 9th September we will be offering road groups subject to there being run leaders (LIRF’s) willing to organise and take these.  Paul Barter has recently emailed LIRFs to ask if there is availability. This may not necessarily mean that we can offer the usual range of pace groups, but it is hoped that we can at least offer a slow, medium and quicker group.

As we do not know yet when there will be both access to the Harriers building and the use of the track, this means that for now there will not be the option of coaching sessions, although we have discussed potential alternatives which we will keep you informed of if viable.

Evidently runners have been meeting informally for social runs since restrictions have been lifted. For runs organised by the club LIRFs and runners in their respective groups will need to follow some guidelines which would not necessarily be mandatory for social runs. These are required so that runs take place in a COVID secure environment and are as follows:-

  • LIRFs will be required to provide details of planned route including distance and terrain in advance which will be posted on the website by the Sunday before the Wednesday run.
  • Routes will be risk assessed by LIRFs to minimise potential spread of coronavirus (however small this may be) and so considerations would be made regarding gates, stiles etc. on off road routes along with any hazards.
  • LIRFs will need to carry face masks and at least a basic first aid kit including gloves should they need to treat injuries.
  • All runners will need to carry antibacterial hand gel with them.
  • All runners will be required to observe social distancing, not just within their group, but also being mindful of other members of the public en route.
  • Road groups will be limited to six including the leader. On discussing this as a committee, we are aware that up to twelve would be permissible, but felt this would be too unwieldy to manage if to adhere to social distancing.
  • Runners wishing to join weekly road groups will need to book a place via the website so that we do not go over capacity. We request that runners do not arrive for runs if not previously booked as this leaves LIRFs in awkward predicaments with group numbers. Unless otherwise informed on the website (as some LIRFs may arrange groups to meet in other parts of Exeter where there is adequate parking), groups will meet in the Arena car park from 6:45pm to run at 7:00pm as customary. Please be aware that there will not be facilities open at the Arena including use of toilets, showers, lockers etc.
  • Runners will need to complete a health form initially to confirm if experienced any COVID related symptoms. This would not then need to be completed prior to each run unless there was any change in details/health conditions. This is necessary should we need to undertake any tracing due to symptoms.

I apologise if this feels like a whole lot of rules and regulations for a sport/pastime that is considered to be one of the purest, but we are required to observe this as laid out by England Athletics. Naturally, if restrictions are relaxed or become more stringent, we will review the above.

Please note – we are hoping to appoint a COVID Officer within the club and will keep you informed about this. Should any member be interested in taking on this role, please can you contact us.

The committee agreed that runners will not be required to pay the usual subs for joining group runs as we felt that this seemed unreasonable without the use of the Arena.

We will also review regularly how the aforementioned arrangement goes as appreciate it is not perfect e.g. we are mindful that particular pace groups may not be able to be offered every week as depends on LIRFs availability.  We are also aware that some groups may become full each week with the same runners which could be seen as a clique. Hopefully, in the latter instance, there may be other group options as we have more than one qualified LIRF in each pace group.

I would like to assure you that most of the committee meeting time has been devoted to discussing various pro and cons of offering some elements of club activities and we acknowledge that it may not meet everyone’s needs. We have given this a great deal of thought and felt that it was better to offer something rather than nothing as there is no telling when we can resume in the traditional way.


Tim Vialls

General resources:


-Mental health and running

– Working from home

– Education


– Stop Breathe Think: YouTube channel: guided videos of beep breathing and mindfulness exercises:


– Exercise: Try some 10 minute home workouts  


– Exercise: Yoga exercises (for a range of abilities)


Government and NHS advice inc Exeter City Council 

– NHS:  

 – Government:  



Financial Concerns 

– Government:  


– Citizens Advice:    

PDF Documents on Mental Health and Anxiety Support

COVID 19 Psychological First Aid

Guide to Living With Worry And Anxiety Amidst Global Uncertainty

FACE COVID – How to respond effectively to the Corona crisis

Supporting your well-being for clients

Butterfly Breath