With the Government’s Covid roadmap now published we are hopeful that club training will be able to start in the week commencing 29th March. England Athletics have also published their guidance for resumption, and we will be working towards sessions starting in that week, all being well. We will keep you posted with updates.

Guidance in place prior to announcement above

As you will probably know, we are now in the new Tier 4 level of restrictions. The initial restrictions include only being able to exercise with one other person. As it stands it will mean a closure of all club activity, particularly as Everyone Active have stated that Jarman Park will be closed on Sunday at the very least.

As this change has come from government very quickly, more details will follow in the days to come and we need to wait to see if there is any scope for some form of club activity to continue. We wait to receive formal guidance from the governing body, England Athletics, and we also await what Everyone Active decide in relation to Jarman Park.

We are acutely aware that this is a challenging time for everyone on so many levels, particularly given how peoples plans for the coming days have been thrown into uncertainty. We will keep you posted as and when we know more. However, for the time being I regret that all club activity is suspended.

The government restrictions are such that we can now train in groups of six, either six athletes or a coach and five athletes. As a result, some of the track and field coaching groups have been able to do sessions and the road runners have been running in small groups whilst adhering to the government guidance. 

All this activity has been away from the track which has been closed since lockdown started. But the great news is that this situation will be changing very soon. Everyone Active have announced that the track at Jarman Park will be re-opening on Monday 6th July. As a result, we are intending to start group training sessions on that day.

It will come as no surprise that, along with all the businesses, shops and public buildings that are re-opening, the experience of training at the track will not be the same as it was before lockdown. The Covid-19 virus is still with us and as a result there are a significant number of changes which will need to be made to the way the track operates and also how we as a club use the facility. 

Over the past few weeks the committee have been working with Everyone Active to come up with a plan for the safe re-opening of the track. We have had to adhere to the guidance of both HM Government and England Athletics in finding ways to ensure that our members can start to train at Jarman Park in as safe an environment as possible. The guidance from England Athletics is comprehensive and the various documents are attached. 

Once the opening is confirmed the exact details will be communicated to athletes by their respective coaches but here are the main points to make you aware of.

  • Training times on Tuesdays and Thursdays will be changed to run from 4.30pm to 7.30pm for the time being.

  • There will be an additional club sessions from 5.45pm to 8.30pm on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10am to 1pm on Sundays.

Outside of these hours members will be able to train as members of the general public and will need to book through Everyone Active in advance as numbers using the track will be limited. 

  • There will be a one-way system to enter and leave the track utilising the steps and the ramp and also the gates beside the clubhouse. 

  • The clubhouse and the changing rooms will be closed. The toilets will be open and also subject to signposted routes. 

  • Unlike pre-lockdown, not all coaching groups or athletes will be able to attend every session. Due to the limits on group numbers and also the number of groups using the site at any one time, a rota is being drawn up as to which groups and athletes will train and at what times. Athletes will be notified by their coaches as to when to attend. 

  • There will be two distinct sessions during each club night. An early session between 4.30pm and 5.45pm and from 6.00pm until 7.15pm. There will be a 15 minute gap between the sessions to allow for those in the early session to leave and for those doing the late session to arrive. 

  • Please stick to your allotted session. Do not either arrive early for your session if training late or stay afterwards if you are in an early group. Athletes must vacate the site as quickly as possible after their session and not arrive until their allotted time. 

  • NO spectators are permitted, except for parents or carers for members with specific needs. Unfortunately, at this time we are limited as to the number of persons we have on the site at any one time. Priority must go to athletes and coaches. 

  • We ask that parents drop off their children at the entrance to the track and pick them up at the end. For the time being we regret that we cannot have parents, carers or other family members staying to watch training. We value you and your support and we hope you understand our current situation. 

  • No payment for training sessions will take place on the night as we do not want to handle any cash. Instead coaches will keep a register of those attending and at the end of the month an invoice will be sent with a charge based on the number of sessions attended. 

  • There is no change to the charge of £2 per session.

  • Social distancing of 2m must be observed at all times.  I know we will all be delighted to be back at the track and perhaps seeing friends and training buddies who we haven’t seen for ages but we ask you please to refrain from high 5’s, hugs or anything else which increases the risk of transmission of the virus. 

  • There are various protocols in place for use and cleaning of equipment and etiquette on the track.  Coaches will brief their individual groups on the details of these protocols as pertain to their respective events.

  • The club has appointed a Covid-19 Coordinator who has overseen the preparations and has worked with the committee and Everyone Active to ensure the appropriate measures are in place. That person is myself. 

  • Together with Everyone Active we have reviewed our risk assessments and we have also completed a specific risk assessment in relation to Covid-19. 

  • During club sessions hand sanitiser and cleaning materials for cleaning equipment will be available. 

  • We have done everything possible to minimize the risk of transmission of the virus, but it is impossible to make it 100% safe. 

  • As with all physical activity risk cannot be completely eliminated and by participating in club training sessions, all athletes and their parents (if the athlete is under 18) are accepting of this.

  • All the measures taken have been in accordance with the various guidance documents issued by England Athletics. These are attached.    

  • For the road running section, as has been communicated a few weeks back, we are still not able running club sessions until the size of permitted groups increases to make such sessions a viable proposition. But we are reviewing this and will be in touch shortly. 

  • When we do start doing training sessions and group runs for the road runners they will be based away from the track so as not to impinge on the limited numbers that can use the track. 

I am conscious that the above is an awful lot to take in. Sadly, despite the relaxation of the restrictions in recent weeks, we must remember that we are still in the midst of a global health emergency and we must therefore adapt the way we use the facility and how we train until such time as it is safe to revert back to how things used to be. 

More detail will follow in the days to come relating to the specifics for each coaching group. We should remember that we have never had to do anything like this before. The working group has had to think of all sorts of things that four months ago we would never have dreamed of. As we have had to adapt to all manner of things in our daily lives, so too we have had to do so in terms of our use of the track. We have tried to think of everything but no doubt there will be things that we have not thought of, or stuff that doesn’t work out quite as we thought it would. 

We ask that you all please bear with us as we all learn a new way of running club training nights.  I am indebted to the support of the committee during this difficult and challenging time for the club and in particular the working group of Deb Keenleyside, Alison Parker, Rob Salt and David Stears, who together with the staff from Everyone Active have got us to the point where we can start to use the track once more. 

A vote of thanks

When our athletes return, I hope that they will notice that a lot of ‘housekeeping’ has been done whilst the track has been closed. A secret group of volunteers has been busy tidying up the track and the fixtures and fittings. Judging stands have been painted, throwing areas have new ropes and grass has been trimmed to mention but a few improvements that have been made. 

This group wish to remain anonymous, but it would be remiss of me if they were not thanked publicly. They have given up much of their free time to carry out these improvements at Jarman Park. So in the true sense of a tabloid scoop I can reveal that our band of volunteers are none other than Cathie Woolfrey, Ian Hawtin, Winston Thomas, John Garner and Mike Smith. A massive thank you to you all for giving up your time to improve the fabric of the track. 

New Storage.

Those visiting the track will also notice the new storage container next to the clubhouse. This container now houses all the clubs equipment including that which occupied the changing room as well as that equipment in the main garage area. The container has lots of racking so everything is stored neatly. Thank you to Alison Parker for all your work in making this happen. I’m sure all the athletes will appreciate it in the months to come. 

Athlete, Coach, Official, Supporter or Helper....

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