After last year’s Richmond RUNFEST, the race director, Tom Bedford, declared to his staff “Next year’s event will not see any changes for the first time in 7 years!”. That was before Covid-19 decided to change the world.
Although many of the usual events had to be postponed (including the Richmond Half & Full marathon), the team knew they had the opportunity to hold a safe socially distanced 10K event inside the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.
The operations team set out to consult the best known health and safety and crowd flow analysts in the world to make sure the venue and course could cope with runners in a socially distanced format.
“We have made so many changes to the event that it is difficult to highlight all of the important ones. We are very fortunate that our venue, Kew Gardens, is one of the most secluded, beautiful and secure venues in London. Therefore we had an opportunity to only invite runners inside which is something that events like the London Marathon would find it difficult to do”. “Once we knew that we could focus purely on the runners turning up, we set about creating a running event that is a low risk transmission of Covid-19. This would sadly mean we would reduce our usual numbers and lose a lot of the fun and social entertainment we normally put on due to social distancing being our focus”.
Tom got in touch with Marcel Altenburg and his team at Manchester Met University to review the event and to highlight any red flags for the runners on the course. “We spent hours researching the risk of transmission of Covid-19 from runners and came across Marcel. Marcel has been working with all of the World Marathon Majors and big football teams across Europe in order to understand what changes they would have to make and what attendance they could safely fit when their fans were welcomed back. Marcel’s technology used last year’s results to analyse the changes to the course for this year’s event, so that there is a safe number of runners attending the event. This was really helpful and gave us the confidence that with all of the other changes given by our governing body ‘UK Athletics’ and the government, we could put on a safe event for everyone turning up”.
Some Running and Triathlon events have been back since the 1st August, however many have been cancelled which has had a big impact on the industry and the many charities that raise money through them.
“Covid-19 is not behind us yet but if we can put on safe running events that positively impact the health & fitness, mental well-being for many runners and also support many charities then it’s our duty to get back running. Runners turning up will not be forced to run, our medical team and our dedicated Covid-19 officer have guided us the whole way through and Kew Garden’s provides a beautiful safe venue that has been open to the public since 1st June. All staff and volunteers will wear protective safety gear and our event naturally lends itself to responsible track and tracing. It is not how we normally put on events but it’s a safe start!”
The Kew Gardens 10K plan two socially distanced 10K events inside the beautiful Kew Gardens on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th September, 2020.
Limited entries are still available please go to www.richmondrunfest.co.uk