The following email went out to all Cotswold 113 Competitors today:
Cotswold113 – Coronavirus update
Good evening all.
I appreciate everyone has bigger issues at the moment, but we are naturally getting a lot of emails of concern about our 2 events, so in the interest of transparency and honesty, I wanted to bring you all up to speed on where we are at this point in time and what we are currently planning as a contingency for the June 7th Cotswold 113 (and potentially August 2nd Cotswold Classic too)
If you have seen today’s Government conference update with Boris Johnson and his Chief Medical Officers; like me, you will feel that the Cotswold113 running on June 7th in a traditional format is starting to look increasingly unlikely.
We, of course, will continue to to plan around it happening on June 7th, but we are putting together some contingency plans just in case, so I wanted to make you all aware of what we are planning, and as you all are just as much a part of this race as us, call on you all collectively to let us know if you have any feedback.
This is completely unchartered territory for the us and the Nation as a whole, so we are currently trying to make the best of a bad situation and hope than in the interest of life still maintaining some level of normality where possible, us as Triathletes can still get to race this year in some format, and at some point.
Firstly, let’s assume for a minute that our current state continues for 2.5 months and that we’re on public event lockdown still in June ; We are, this week, having meetings with the Lake Owners, the Councils, Police and highways etc etc about a revised date towards the end of the summer. We will hope to have the date of that option finalised within the next week, and is very likely to be late August or Sept. For that option, we will publish the revised date as soon as we have it, plus a timescale in which we can realistically confirm that we are moving to the new date or not, so as to give everyone time to make arrangements etc. I expect that we can make a judgment on whether or not things are looking up for June by the end of April at the very latest.
Secondly, let’s assume that things have quietened down in June, but we are still not out the woods entirely in terms of public gatherings or that public confidence in gatherings are still low. We are considering a few options for a race in this instance:
1) We can run the race over two days, and separate the waves by a larger time frame to reduce social contact to almost zero if desired. Registration would happen by post, briefings would happen by email/youtube and starts would become rolling so as to reduce the density of numbers gathered at the swim start. We would rethink Aid stations and the finish area would be adjusted to finish and go (most people do this anyway)
2) Along with the above, I totally understand that some people would still not want to attend the race day and be around strangers, so for these competitors, we would introduce a ‘Virtual race’ option. This would allow competitors to complete the distances on their own or with friends from their club, and we could then post you your number/goody bag/ shirt etc in advance, and your medal once you have completed the distances. Realistically, this could be done in your own time as and when you please, and we would not limit the date for completion and could send the medal out as and when you’re finished, even if it’s at Christmas. For competitors that choose to take a virtual option, we could then send them a discount code to use with us next year when hopefully Coronavirus is a distant memory and life has returned to normal (fingers crossed) so they can come and experience the 113 atmosphere in person.
If people wanted to come to the lake we race at to do this, it’s open for Swimming 7 days per week in the summer before 10am, and I’m sure we can come to an arrangement with the lake guys to display swim/bike/run maps or even leave a finish line erected for a short period.
The two options above could also roll to the revised date if required.
I will, of course, keep everyone posted as and when things change, and we are in constant communication with both the Governing bodies of our sport and the government guidelines and regulations surrounding outdoor sports events.
As you will all have seen, the situation regarding advice from the Government is pretty fluid right now, and is changing daily, but we are keeping on top of it as much as we can and will adjust as we go.
I truly appreciate that we have built a following of loyal and great competitors over the years, and want to thank everyone for baring with us in these difficult times.
For a moment, I’d like to explain a little about the commotion this is causing within the triathlon industry as a whole, as I’ve seen that most the other UK race organisers are being very tight lipped about what’s happening with their events, and other than the one large global player, I’ve not seen any communication from the UK’s other medium/large sized races to explain what they’re doing about the current situation.
Some events, like ours, take out very expensive cancellation policies to cover the unknown causing races to stop. However, as this has now reached global Pandemic classification, these insurance companies are washing their hands of any claims via the small print (typically, insurance covers things like weather, floods and road closures due to watermains bursting etc) . I can’t speak for the other minority of organisers that also take out these policies, but from my understanding from the ones I do speak with, this is the same for all of us 🙁
I appreciate that many of you will have entered (in some cases several) other races this year, so please can I ask that you are patient with the other organisers as they, like us, will be taking brand new baby steps into a situation they have never faced before and most likely not planned for. Many are big businesses, but some, like us, are just a husband and wife putting on races that we hope people love.
Unfortunately, this will be the end of many a very good race in the UK Triathlon calendar, so please be patient when dealing with the other organisers as they will be having as tough a time to work out a plan as we are.
Ultimately, the Corona Virus is hitting our country hard, and I truly wish good health to all our competitors past and present as well as their friends and families. Triathlon is important to us all, but life and our health is far more important, so please keep safe, and keep your loved ones close and safe also.
I appreciate that this does not answer some of the questions we are getting on a daily basis, but I just wanted to be totally honest with everyone and let them know what we are hoping to do in terms of racing this year and the options that we are considering for you all.
Please feel free to call or email me should you have any concerns or questions
Thanks, and please stay safe.
Graeme, Nicci and the 113 Events team.