This is a re-post and obviously we are once again Open and training restarted on 3rd December, but still lots of useful news.
At a time of continuing uncertainty amid further lockdown restrictions, one thing is becoming clear: an involvement in athletics is probably more beneficial now than ever before for both physical and mental wellbeing. Unfortunately, as expected, Lockdown 2.0 kicks in from tomorrow and includes all indoor and outdoor group training. There will, therefore, be no further training until lockdown is lifted on December 3rd, subject to England Athletics Guidelines.
We had worked very hard to make training safe, producing detailed risk assessments for Covid secure venues. For example, we introduced Coacha https://www.coacha.co.uk/ for online pre-booking. We expanded the number of sessions per evening to enable social distancing. We ensured that England Athletics guidelines of one coach to eleven athletes were maintained; NHS QR codes were made available at both Northampton and Rugby, and sanitising of hands and equipment was routinely practised and encouraged. We also restricted the use of indoor facilities, introduced one-way systems or alternative toilet facilities and made good use of digital thermometers for checks prior to competition and training.
It is not possible, of course, to entirely eliminate risk, but I am confident that with these measures we thoroughly managed the risk, and rendered it vanishingly small for outdoor training. When training resumes we will continue to make our sessions as safe as they can possibly be.
You seemed to agree, because most members had returned to full training and there has been an unprecedented upsurge of interest in athletics since lockdown. It has been wonderful to welcome so many new members of all ages. It has been encouraging too to see parents stepping forward to assist with the running of sessions and the implementing of Covid safety procedures. There’s been a recognition that what we offer is very good for both physical and mental well-being, and a realisation that we, together, are the club, and very little can happen without all of us playing a part.
During the March / April lockdown I did not expect much of a track season at all, but was happily surprised by all the open meetings, including some superb events that we hosted at Rugby, and a couple of delightful race nights at Northampton. These events showed us at our very best, and were superb examples of grass-roots athletics.
At the beginning of September at the British Championships, we demonstrated success once again in our twin aims of promoting both recreational and competitive athletics. We had no fewer than four young athletes in action on a national stage, broadcast live by the BBC: Ed Faulds in the 400m, Georgie Forde-Welles in the triple jump, Adam Wright in the 800m and Josh Lay, narrowly missing out on gold in the 1500m. However, it was to a recent R&N AC graduate (and R&N to the bone) that the weekend belonged: step forward Craig Murch, British Men’s Hammer CHAMPION, 2020!
In September we said goodbye, after a dignified couple of years living with serious illness, to John Love, a stalwart of the club and of athletics for over 60 years. John was an athlete of some renown in his own right in his day, and in all the time I knew him remained a cheerful encourager, and someone who was forever serving in one form or another. He has left a noble example that we will do well to follow.
Just before lockdown I mentioned that we had been meeting with Amy Frith from England Athletics. She is helping us take a good look at all our activities and procedures, from top to bottom, and will help us come up with a number of recommendations to make a good club even better.
She has already spoken to some of you, and though it won’t be possible for her now to meet with more of you, through this survey there is an opportunity for everybody to have their say and give their input. It doesn’t take very long – no more than ten minutes – the results will be anonymised, and in completing it you can contribute to the improvement of a club that is making a difference in society out of all proportion to our size. Please complete by 30th November: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/eaclubreviewaf
As we move towards the darker, wetter, colder nights of a lockdown November, let’s take advantage of the concession that we can continue to exercise with our household, and, when alone, with one other person. Let’s get hold of a training buddy, and make the most of a tricky time for all of us.
Stay safe, get even healthier, and back to training in December!