Unfortunately, in light of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, there have been further cancellations of events beyond the official suspension of athletics competition (currently set at 30th June).
The cancellations are:
• All Eastern Masters Athletics Club (EMAC) League matches, including the September Final at Bedford.
• The British Masters Athletics Championships that were due to take place at Bedford in mid-August.
• The July National Athletics League match.
In more positive news:
• The August National Athletics League match is still provisionally on with the possibility of two additional NAL matches in mid-August and early September respectively - The exact format of these matches is still being decided.
• The August and September EMAC League dates are being held for open meetings, should circumstances allow.
• A number of Bedford and County athletes are taking part in the British Milers Club Bannister Mile Virtual Time Trial between 4th and 6th May. Good luck to those taking part.
In addition to the fixtures metioned previously, the fixtures below have also been cancelled. We will update this section with the latest fixture cancellations due to Coronavirus when we get them.
- Southern Athletics League match on 7th June has been cancelled.
- The English Schools Championships, which was scheduled for 11th and 12th July has been cancelled, ESAAstatement.
It Isn’t All About Cancellations
We have all probably been more than a little disappointed over the last few weeks as Coronavirus has wreaked havoc on athletics, just as it has on many aspects of life: all competition suspended, the club shut down, groups not meeting. Tuesday and Thursday training nights have become just like any other nights of the week – quiet nights in. It’s particularly difficult, of course, that none of us know when athletics, or life in general for that matter, will get back to normal. Many club members will have been working hard during the winter to achieve goals they have set themselves for the summer, only to find their plans put on hold for who knows how long, and the championships they have been building up for cancelled. Coaches, parents, team managers, officials, club volunteers, and of course the athletes themselves will all be feeling this.
Having said all that, one thing that is worth remembering is that just about the whole athletics family across the world is in the same boat. The runners amongst us are relatively lucky – at the time of writing, we can still run outdoors, provided that we stick to the government guidelines such as exercising alone or only with other members of our household. And this makes us much luckier than most sports people – for example, tennis players or footballers – who have absolutely no access to their chosen sports. Face-to-face coaching has been suspended, but coaches have been keeping in touch with their athletes via instant messaging apps and emails, and have been providing sessions and ideas of things to do. The training groups themselves are active in cyberspace via WhatsApp and Facebook groups, and have been publishing to Instagram. And then there is Strava, where runners can join virtual clubs, and give each other ‘kudos’ for their training runs. So athletics life does go on, although it must be particularly hard for the field event athletes. There is even a Virtual National Road Relay being organized that fully conforms to all the very necessary social distancing rules.
Nobody can accurately predict when competitive athletics will return, but we are free to hope that there may be some track and field meetings before the end of the season, and to we can aim to compete in them if there are. In the meantime, for anybody wanting ideas about what to do, the England Athletics, Athletics @ Home website is worth a look: https://www.englandathletics.org/about-us/athletics-at-home/