The following email went out to all Cotswold Classic 2020 Competitors today
Cotswold Classic 2020 – Coronavirus update #2
Good afternoon all, and I hope everyone’s keeping well in these very difficult times ?
I just wanted to drop everyone an email to keep you all updated on what’s happening this end, and a few options we’re looking at for August 2nd.
Firstly, and most importantly, we’re still very much planning around the August 2nd Cotswold Classic to go ahead in some format.
However, like everyone, we don’t know how this summer is going to pan out, and although we’re keeping a very close eye on the government’s guidelines, and speaking regularly with the BTF, we’re all a bit in the dark and taking baby steps into the unknown as it’s not something this industry has ever had to deal with before.
These are truly unknown times for the Country, and as much as we’d love to be able to deliver an event regardless, the safety of you all, our team and everyone’s family is by far the most important thing here.
Our two races are very much the race for you all, so I wanted to keep you all up to date with what we’re planning, and in the interest of transparency, what adjustments we’re looking at should we still have to have some kind of social distancing in place (I think reasonably likely) or if we simple cannot race at all this year (less likely, hopefully)
There’s several stages to this and I can waffle on a bit in my mails, so I’ll try and address things in some kind of order.
1) I’m very conscious that due to the flat nature of our course, and the pretty much non existent cut offs, we tend to attract a much larger number of first timers to the distance than other Middle Distance races in the UK. I’m also very aware than pools have been shut for 5 weeks now, and that many of you who are developing swimmers, will not have got in the practice time/distance that you have wanted and will be very worried that in just over 3 months, you might need to swim 1.2miles in open water underprepared.
For anyone that doesn’t want to do the swim on the day, we are working on a way to make the race have a duathlon option, where you can just start on the bike and not need to Swim. You will still, of course, get an official time and medal etc, but will show on separate results. There’s no rush to make a decision on this right now, and we can arrange this up to around a week out from the race day.
2) We are very grateful of our NHS workers, and judging by the uptake for this offer for our June (Now Sept20th) race, we have around 8-9% of our competitors working directly for the NHS. We appreciate that you guys have far more on your plates right now than training for a race in these terrible times, so would like to offer a full refund (or deferral to next year) to any NHS workers that do not wish to race this year, and can email me a copy of their NHS photo ID.
We really appreciate the work you guys are doing, and can only imagine just how hard it is on the front line right now.
As much as we would love to be able to roll this offer out to all key workers or anyone else, I’m afraid we simply do not have the budget for this as around 80% of race fees are spent in advance of the race, and in the case of the August Classic, it’s actually nearer 120% as the race is still 200 competitors below breakeven point, and it’s very unlikely we’ll be selling any more slots (We’ve actually closed entries until we have a better idea of how this year is going to pan out) – More on race economics later in this email
3) Should we have to have some social distancing rules in place for the race weekend, which I think is pretty likely, we have looked at a number of ways that we can do it, and of course, are very open to suggestion of other ways if you can think of anything else ? :
A – Scrap registration on Saturday, and post out all packs in advance of the race – You will still need to collect your timing chip on race morning as these are not easy to post (Something to do with magnets and postal systems), but these can be left in your spot in transition, so you can collect on race morning as you rack your bike.
B – Remove the pre race briefings, and we will record these on a video that we will post to our site and send you all a link.
C – Separate racking slots further in transition, and spread the racking over multiple start times (Ie competitor number 1 goes off at 06:00 and competitor number 2 goes off at 06:30) that way you’re not back in transition next to each other at the same time
D – Bike racking will be done by wave, over a longer period and split by numbers to ensure that there’s ample space to maintain a 2m rule whilst racking your bike
E – Create multiple rolling start points and set your time at the point you cross the mat into the water, thus ensuring competitors are ample distance apart at the swim start.
F – Install Hand rails on Swim exit to avoid hand to hand contact with Swim exit helpers – Regularly wipe/spray rail after each use
G – Adjust run course to remove the two way section, and narrow points where it’s tough to overtake without going within 2m of another runner.
H – Create longer aid station sections to allow cyclists and runners to grab their own bottles/gels/cups etc from tables and lay them all out individually so that each competitor touches only what he/she is going to pick up
I – Make finish line ‘finish and go’
J – All our team, marshals, medical support and officials to wear gloves and masks, hand gel sanitiser to be available at all points around start, transition, aid stations, finish etc
K – It’s also possible that we could run the race over two days (Sat 1st and Sunday 2nd August), and should there be restrictions on numbers for outdoor gatherings in August, this is something we’re looking into the logistics of doing.
These are truly strange times, and as much as I don’t want to limit the interaction with our team and the competitors as well as, as it’s the part of the race that we really quite like, it’s a real possibility that we’ll have to be less personal on the day and help from a distance 🙁
You’ll all be glad to know that Noisy Dave is not much quieter from 6 foot away as he is from 3 foot too.
4) What we have offered to the June (Now Sept) Cotswold 113 competitors, and would offer the same out to the Classic Competitors, is the option to complete the race as a ‘Virtual 113’
How this will work if you wished to sign up for this option, is you are then free to complete the distances in your own leisure and in your own time. You do not need to do them all on the same day (especially not considering the current lockdown rules) and you have until the end of the year to do it. In return for you completing a virtual 113, you will get your Goody bag, shirt and medal in the post as well as a £50 discount code to use with us in the future. You may even want to wait until the lake is open that we race in, and complete it on our course in your own time, and we can supply GPS files and maps etc to do that, and can even arrange for a period of time where our swim course is marked out and the finish line left erected. You can also do this without the swim if you like, and we would record your completion as a virtual 113 duathlon.
We are currently building a page on our site to record results and will host a gallery too should you wish to send in photos
If this is something that interests you, just drop me an email at email@example.com
5) As you may or may not know, on March 23rd, we rescheduled our June 7th Middle distance race to Sept 20th. We have had a number of competitors from that race either withdraw through the NHS refund scheme (Around 95) or transfer to the August race (around the same number again). That means, that if we can run as normal on Sept 20th with a full entry list, we will have spaces available in that race that August competitors can transfer over to. I am not going to make any transfers to that race until we get a better idea of how things are going to pan out, so please be patient with us on this. However, once we know what’s happening, you will all be the first to know and the slots will get offered out to you lot before they either go on sale generally or just removed. They’ll be first come first served from that point onwards, so don’t ask just yet please.
6) If, and this is the worst case scenario, we can’t run at all this year and all outdoor events are banned for 2020. All our 2020 competitors will be transferred over to next year’s races, and you will have a choice of which race you want, or if you wanted another year to race in 2022.
I touched on this in our last email, but we’re in the somewhat difficult position, that like most other triathlon organisers (I don’t know about IM as they’re playing a different game to us) our event cancellation insurance doesn’t cover Covid19 as a Global Pandemic. What this means for us is that we have already outlayed around 80-90% of the entry fees in advance of the race, and these are costs that we can’t get back as they’re spent. There are some parts that we can carry over to next year (Goody bags, Swim hats etc), but on the whole, it’s all very specific to 2020.
If we were to have to carry over all the entries to next year, it would mean we would have to incur much of this cost again in 2021 without any revenue from further entries, but are able to either borrow it from the Covid19 Government Loan scheme as a small business and remortgage etc personally to fund it. It would mean we could just about survive, but we would not be able to offer refunds this year over and above the NHS staff, as that would bankrupt us completely, and be the end of 113. I’m not writing this looking for sympathy, but I just wanted to be transparent about how the triathlon industry works for medium sized organisers like ourselves that still have wages to pay and overheads, and to ask that you are not too hard on other organisers who are also, like us, taking these small baby steps into somewhat unchartered territory.
If you want to hear my dulcet tones, a couple of weeks ago I was a Skype Guest along with Iain Hamilton from the Outlaw series on the brick session podcast talking about how Covid is effecting the industry, and you can hear that here : https://overcast.fm/+H4mmdCs5A?fbclid=IwAR2-cNMj_tUCzqTLu9Zqltarw-lWA05yBZN0LX8_EdPq5mgBWIx6FuvzMcM
Right, that’s it from me for this newsletter. I will, of course, keep everyone updated as soon as we know more about how this lockdown is going to end. We’re here to help, so if you have any concerns, suggestions or there’s anything we can help with, please just give me a ring or drop me an email
In the meantime, please take great care of yourself, keep safe and keep your families loved
Graeme, Nicci and the 113 Events team