July Government Announcements and Mass Participation Events

July Government Announcements and Mass Participation Events


We’re very excited to see a return to communal sports, beginning to take place with Oliver Dowden - Secretary of State for Culture, Media, and Sport - stating: “We need to get the nation match fit to fight this disease.”. 

What is opening and when?

  • Saturday 11th of July: Outdoor pools and outdoor theatres. Cricket, recreational sports, “hockey, football, rugby and countless others”. 
  • Saturday 25th of July: Gyms, indoor pools and leisure centres

However, the announcement was clear that all the reopening dates were both conditional and reversible. Therefore, if we do see a second spike, this timeline is set to change.

There wasn’t an explicit mention of mass participation sports events. This put us in a waiting position for announcements UK Athletics or Sport England, British Triathlon Federation and The Association of Festival Organisers, to determine what comes next for mass participation sport and fitness events. 

British Triathlon’s Response 

On July 13th, British Triathlon announced that event organisers will be able to apply for a permit for events taking place after 25th July. 

News for Events in Wales 

Four of Wales’ leading mass participation sporting event organisations have joined forces for the first time to help chart a safe return for many of the nation’s favourite races.

Run4Wales, organisers of the Cardiff Half Marathon, Activity Wales Events, who run the global Long Course Weekend series, Always Aim High who organise the Cardiff Triathlon and Frontrunner Events who organise the Swansea Half Marathon have come together to find joint solutions to the problems presented by COVID-19. Between them, the four founding members of MSO Cymru promote the nation’s leading events in swimming, running, cycling, duathlon, triathlon, swimrun and walking, offering sporting opportunities for more than 100,000 participants across the country.

Now MSO Cymru is looking to work with the Welsh Government’s ‘Event Wales’ team and Local Authorities to find solutions for a safe return for mass participation events.

Should we start preparing for races to begin?

A key take away from Dowden’s announcement was that there can be a “resumption of recreational sport as soon as their organisations publish approved guidance.” Meaning that our industry’s next steps rest on a response from UK Athletics.

If they publish an action plan on how events can be run safely then races, of a certain size, are likely to be allowed to return come August so long as they meet the UK Athletics safety guidelines.

There are a number of ways you can plan for a safe contact free race, but before this you need to think about what this would mean for you. It will have an effect on your brand, your staff and at the end of the day, your bottom line due to the costs of sanitary measures and the limits on race entries. 

A while back we put together a case study on some Socially Distanced Races which have taken place across the pond in the USA which give good examples of how organisers have adapted their events to the current climate. Check it out to see how you could alter your event to fit with guidelines and create your first socially distanced race!