COVID-19 Update - Saturday 14 March 2020
We have carefully considered, listened and consulted, before deciding that the Bath Half Marathon will continue as planned on Sunday.
We have continued to closely monitor the situation as it has developed, consulting with our partner agencies. As at 20:00 hrs yesterday evening the advice of our local public health team (based on national guidance) remains that the risk of infection from outdoor events such as the Bath Half Marathon remains low, and that there is no epidemiological or medical evidence to suggest that mass participation events should be restricted at this time.
It is now too late for us to cancel or postpone the event. The venue is built, the infrastructure is in place, the site and our contractors are ready. Runners are already arriving in the city, keen for the race to go ahead.
Even if we were to cancel at this late stage on the eve of the event we anticipate that thousands of runners would still turn up to run the route, and we feel we would owe a duty of care to those runners, given that our resources are ready and waiting to support them. This is based both on the numerous messages of support received from runners determined to run regardless, and our experience in 2018 when we had to cancel the event due to winter storms – which we were able to do in good time before runners started travelling to the event – but hundreds of runners still turned up to run.
We understand that government is considering future plans to restrict public events, such as the London Marathon, which rely on resources provided by the NHS or police. But we have to base our decision on current advice, and the Bath Half Marathon does not impose any burden on the NHS or police, as our medical and stewarding services are independent of public services.
We also note that other events both in the UK and overseas have decided to cancel or postpone in response to difference situations and challenges.
We fully appreciate public concerns, press reports and social media comments about the spread of the Coronavirus. But we have to trust and base our decision on the advice of the appointed experts in local and national government relevant to the circumstances of our event at this moment in time.
We are grateful for the numerous messages of support received from entrants, charity partners and volunteers anxious for our event to go ahead. Equally we appreciate that many runners and spectators may prefer to exercise their personal choice not to attend.
In 2018 we had no choice but to cancel, this was an entirely different situation. Our site build had been delayed by the winter storm, key contractors and suppliers were unable to deliver services to our event, key staff were unable to attend, residents had insufficient time to remove their parked cars from the course route, the park & ride services had been cancelled. This year the infrastructure is in place, ready and waiting to go. It is too late now to cancel or postpone our event.
We look forward to welcoming our runners, charity partners and spectators to our event.
On the advice of our local public health team we are providing additional handwash facilities at our event for participants, spectators and volunteers. Our medical team is also providing additional resources to isolate and manage any patients presenting with symptoms at the event, in accordance with NHS clinical protocols.
We ask runners and spectators to play their part in slowing the spread of the virus by following NHS advice regarding good hygiene practices, washing their hands, covering their mouth and nose when they cough, or sneeze; and disposing of used tissues in the bin immediately.
If you are worried that you have symptoms of the virus or that you might have been exposed to the virus when travelling, please visit the NHS 111 online service.
Remember if you are unwell or injured leading up to the event or on the day (even if not related to Coronavirus) you should not run – there is always another race.
The Bath Half Marathon is a longstanding community event, the largest charity fundraiser in the South West region, raising over £2 million pounds in 2019 for a range of charities and local voluntary groups, used to fund essential services, besides providing an opportunity for fitness and wellbeing for local residents.
COVID-19 Update - 12 March 2020 (18:00hrs)
We fully appreciate public concerns that have been expressed in the local press and on social media about the spread of the virus and we have been working hard to make the right call about whether the event should go ahead or not. Following on from today’s government announcements regarding the spread of COVID-19 we wanted to update all our runners, charity partners, spectators and the Bath community about Sunday’s Bath Half Marathon.
As event organisers we are continually monitoring the situation, consulted with and taking advice from Public Health England, our local authority, our local NHS and public health teams and the Department of Health & Social Care. Their advice currently remains that the risk of infection from outdoor events such as the Bath Half Marathon remains low, and that there is no epidemiological or medical evidence to suggest that mass participation events should be restricted at this time.
We therefore plan to go ahead with Sunday’s race.
The decision to go ahead has not been taken lightly. Every year we deliver the Bath Half Marathon with safety as our priority. Each year we rely on the expert opinion of relevant government organisations and public agencies around us to help us deliver a safe event, or advise us when an event cannot be safely carried out. Their advice to us a present is that our race can and should go ahead.
On the advice of the Public Health team we are providing additional hand wash facilities and other medical measures at our event. We are also actively promoting the key public health message to ask runners and spectators to play their part in slowing the spread of the virus by following NHS advice regarding good hygiene practices; washing their hands, covering their mouth and nose when they cough, or sneeze; and disposing of used tissues in the bin immediately.
Thank you for bearing with us while we have carried out all the work that needs to be done to make our decision – there has been a lot of information for us to look at and the situation has been changing quickly.
We are working really hard to make the 2020 Bath Half a great day for all our runners, charity partners, spectators and for the wider benefit of the city. This long-standing community event, is the largest charity fundraiser in the South West region, raising over £2 million pounds in 2019 for a range of charities and local voluntary groups, used to fund essential services.
Andrew Taylor, Bath Half Marathon Race Director
A statement from our Medical Director – Thursday 12 March
We have taken appropriate guidance at both a local and national level and have carefully reviewed our event medical plans to ensure risk is reduced and adequate facilities are in place to protect all participants to the best of our ability. Working as an Emergency Consultant and leading on Covid-19 planning I fully understand this is a worrying time for everyone and we advise anyone feeling unwell not to attend the race and to seek advice from 111.
Should anyone be taken unwell at the event we have isolation facilities to be able to manage a patient and appropriately skilled and trained clinicians to manage a number of clinical situations. We will closely be monitoring Public Health and Government advice over the next 24-48 hours and acting appropriately on any instructions issued.
Dr Rachel Oaten
Race Medical Director
Clinical Lead Emergency Medicine
COVID-19 Update - 12 March 2020
As many of you will be aware, the COBRA meeting in Downing Street has been happening today regarding the spread of the COVID-19 virus. As part of our close monitoring of the COVID-19 virus situation we are awaiting details following that meeting from Public Health England (PHE), our local authority (Bath & North East Somerset Council), our local NHS and public health teams and the Department of Health & Social Care. We will make a statement about Sunday’s event once we have had further relevant consultations. Please bear with us while we carry out this important work.
COVID-19 Update - 6 March 2020
We continue to closely monitor the situation relating to the spread of COVID-19 and noting the updates and advice given by the NHS and our local authority and public health team.
The government’s advice is that all mass participation events should still go ahead. We are working full steam ahead to make Bath Half 2020 a great day for all our runners and spectators.
We are working closely with our medical providers and colleagues who organise other large UK road races to coordinate and agree appropriate advice to the public attending our events.
In line with our normal pre-race advice we are continuing to advise runners who are feeling unwell before the race to follow the advice that we publish each year:
Do not run the Bath Half if you feel unwell or have recently been unwell within 2-3 days of the race, even if you are raising money for charity. Most medical emergencies during races occur in runners who were unwell before the race, but didn’t want to miss the event. If you’ve had a fever or vomiting or diarrhoea or chest pains, or otherwise feel unwell, then it is unfair to you, your family, your sponsoring charity and the race support staff to risk serious illness and become a medical emergency.
If you decide to cancel your entry due to illness or injury then please see our race cancellation policy.
Our Bath Half Medical Director works for a local NHS hospital trust and is involved in resilience and planning around the virus. Her advice to all our runners and spectators is to continue to keep up to date with the Government’s latest information and advice about the virus. If you are worried that you have symptoms of the virus or that you might have been exposed to the virus when travelling, please visit the NHS 111 online service.
We ask runners and spectators to play their part in slowing the spread of the virus by following NHS’s advice regarding good hygiene practices, washing their hands, covering their mouth and nose when they cough, or sneeze; and disposing of used tissues in the bin immediately.