The following email went out to all Cotswold Classic 2020 competitors tonight
Cotswold Classic 2020 – Covid update #3
Good afternoon all, I hope everyone’s keeping ok in these strange times ?
Last week, the BTF have said that they are going to start permitting events in line with the Goverment’s phase 3 relaxing of the lockdown, which is pencilled in to happen at the earliest July 4th.
Potentially, that’s good news for the race happening on August 2nd, and we’ve now been in touch with the BTF on how we feel we can run the event in a manner that eliminates social distance, and ensures that hygiene levels are high.
The BTF have issued some rules and regulations around a return to Triathlon, and we have applied to them with our proposed format, which I will take you all through in this email.
It’s important to note that we need to be absolutely 110% sure we can run this event in a totally safe format before anything gets the go ahead.
In my normal style, this email is going to be a long one, but please take the time to read through it as there’s some important bits in here.
I want to be as transparent as possible with you all, so you all know that we are doing our best to get you racing, and I, of course, would welcome any feedback or suggestions
In this mail, I will cover the following.
1) How the race could look
2) Refunds and improved virtual 113 options
3) We really need some marshals
1) How the race could look
The outline from the BTF covers most of the obvious things, but as you all know, there’s a significant amount of little things to think about outside of these obvious big bits in order for us to be 110% confident that A) We can manage Social Distancing from the time you arrive in the carpark, to the time you set off on your way home, and B) we also have to ensure that everything you or our team touch is sterile from other people’s hands and possible contamination of the virus.
In order to see how this was possible, we created a rather large traffic light matrix, where we looked at every single element of the race and events that happen in the run up to it in quite some detail, and anything that was either Red or Amber on the SocDis and hygiene measures, we’ve looked at what we can change in order to make it Green.
One of the significant changes to the traditional Cotswold Classic is competitor numbers. We traditionally run around 1,100 entries, which equates to around 1,000 people racing on the day. With the volume of NHS refunds (more on that in #2 on this mail), transfers to the virtual option and deferrals to 2021, this has reduced the entry numbers down to 6**, which with further reductions and on the day ‘no shows’ will mean we’re potentially racing with <500 on August 2nd.
The main changes to how our study findings, and subsequent proposed format, will effect you guys on the day are as follows:
- In line with the BTF Covid Guidelines, the race must now be a ‘Non competitive’ time trial: For you, this means it’ll be a rolling start, and although we will publish everyone’s splits and finish times, they’ll be either alphabetical or numerical rather than in an order based on times (Although you will be able to manipulate the data to show an order). With the reduced numbers, and various swim options (More on that in a bit) this means we will be starting one competitor every 10 seconds or so for each distance, and there’ll be a window of around 90minutes to get everyone started. More on how the start procedure and timings will work later in this email. The BTF have understandably removed any qualification status for all races in 2020.
- When you arrive on site in the morning, we will be checking people’s temperature, and if you are above the Gov guideline threshold, you will obviously be turned away and unable to race. You, of course, should not attend if you are showing any symptoms as per government guidelines anyway, and I think this goes without saying https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/symptoms/
- Transition spacing will be much increased, which is greatly assisted by the reduced numbers to <50%
- We will not be able to run our normal familiarisation day in advance of race weekend, which is a real shame as the team and I love these days as it’s the only chance we get to meet many of you without your race faces on. The lake we race at is now open for OW swimming again, and I can email anyone .GPX files of the bike course if you wanted to test it out before the day. You will not be able to run the run course beforehand as although the beach and country park has now reopened in the last 3 days, they are limited on numbers they can have on site at any one time, so you cannot currently get through there to test the run course.
- There will be no registration or briefings on Saturday the 1st August. We will post out race numbers and info, and when you arrive Sunday morning, your timing chip and swim cap will be in your spot for you in transition. We will create a system for non BTF 2020 members to sort day licenses nearer the time, and a way to verify ID on the day by sample.
- We’re conscious that pools have been closed for 3 months now, and although Swim England are hoping to have training pools open from July 4th, this means that many of you will have not swum enough to feel like you can competently or safely swim 1.9km in two months time. Because of that, we will offer two alternative options. 1) We will mark a 400m swim course alongside the normal course. 2) We will offer for you to start on the bike and miss the swim entirely. All options will still get official finish times/medals etc, and we will publish 3 sets of results (in a non competitive format)
- The bike course will revert back to the option course we used for the Cotswold113 last year when the badger set closed the road to Hannington. The reason we are doing this is because the section into Hannington is narrow at around 4m in places, and we do not feel that a competitor could safely overtake another competitor leaving 2m if a car was coming the other way. This course is 90% the same as the traditional course, and actually removes the 1 hill per lap, so is faster and easier than the normal course (Which is actually really flat too other than the 1 hill) – You can see the option bike course here : https://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/2511529435
- Unless it is very hot on race weekend (Av >25deg), the BTF guidelines ask that all competitors are self sufficient for Drinks/Gels on the bike. If it is very hot, we can put out a ‘sort of aid station’, but you will need to stop, dismount, and fill your own bottles from a bowser and we will clean it between each user
- There will be hand gel everywhere, and you will have access to it at every part of the race where you may be touching things. We are currently looking for suppliers for around 350ltr of >70% alcohol Hand gel that we can decant into smaller containers to give to our team, marshals and position around the course. I’d strongly recommend you don’t confuse these with an aid station and try and drink it 🙂
- The run course will have subtle tweaks to the crossover section on Spratsgate lane to remove the section which is 2 way and narrow.
- Run course aid stations will be limited to Water and Gels, and they will operate on a two sided system, whereby you will collect your own cupped water and gels from one side, whilst the team fill the other side. Once one side is running low, the team will divert you to the other side, and will swap over to clean and refill the tables on the now empty side and vice versa
- You will still collect your medal and a bottle of drink at the finish line as your cross, but we will not be able to provide post race massage – You will still be able to stand up to your waist in the lake though, which seems more popular on a warm day than a massage in a sweaty tent anyway.
- This is a big one, and we’re working hard on how we can possibly make it work for everyone within the regulations, but please expect that there is a very real possibility that we will not be able to allow spectators in to the start and finish area at all, and the race might have to become ‘behind closed doors’ for competitors only. I totally appreciate this is less than ideal, but we have several bodies and authorities to appease with our proposals, and increasing the numbers on site by 2 or 3x with spectators may be the difference between racing or not. There is, of course, 100% of the bike course, and around 60% of the run course out in the public area where people can spectate from, and you can pretty much see the finish line from the road. We will over marshal the start and finish area too, and we still have an announcer, so the finish atmosphere will still be great. We, of course, will have a photographer too, and are looking into a live video feed online for the finish.
- Relay teams will still work as normal, but the handover from swimmer to biker, and bike to runner will have to be in an area marked specifically, and you will complete each leg and fasten your chip onto the racking, stand back to 2m, and the next person will collect it from the racking on the other side, and then continue on. You can still all cross the finish line together, and will all get medals etc, but will need to Socially distance in the finish chute/line unless you are from the same household (a good chunk of our relay teams are)
I appreciate that these are some fairly significant changes in some cases, but we have to ensure that if we are to run the race, we are only ever going to do it very safely and with the health and wellbeing of not only our team and marshals, but yourselves too as our number one priority..
We are currently working on how we can set the ‘waves’ for the rolling start, but I think it’s going to be impossible to allow people to choose their own waves and numbers this time like we normally do, but the format in which people start will be fixed, but quite relaxed, so that people can still set off at roughly the same time as their club mates or friends.
A lot can change in two months, and this is all worse case scenario stuff (within the status window of ‘we can run the race’), but initially, we have to propose based on this, and we can adjust as the situation changes and guidelines relax. We will, of course, keep everyone updated as things change and the situation is somewhat liquid right now as you all know. Things seems to be changing on an almost daily basis, so as things change that effect our event, we’ll keep you all posted.
2) Refunds and improved virtual 113 options
As you would’ve read in the previous competitor newsletters, we had budget left to be able to refund entirely for anyone working in the NHS. This offer still stands up to the end of June when things have to be more fixed, so if anyone works in the NHS, and understandably, has had a somewhat large workload and haven’t been able to train, just send me a photo of your ID card, and I’ll refund (or defer you if you prefer) straight away.
As I said in my last email, I’d love to be able to extend that offer beyond NHS workers, but we spend 90% of the race entries in the run up to the race, and simply don’t have the cash left to extend that offer beyond recognising the NHS (We’ve actually spent around 140% of the entry fees as the race is well below break even this year). If other key workers are really struggling due to their own situations, please give me a call, and we’ll see if we can sort something out for a deferral to next year in these instances.
If you want to still feel part of it this year, but don’t want to race in person, we still have our Virtual 113 option available where you can complete the distances in your own leisure and in any format you like over as many days as you like. We’ve done some number crunching, and have increased the incentive to do this from the previously advertised £50 2021 or 22 discount to £80 2021 or 22 discount, plus have increased the goody bag. It’s much like a standard virtual race, and when you have finished the distances, send us in some form of proof (we’re very relaxed on what proof as I’m conscious that not everyone has all signing and all dancing GPS watches) and we’ll post you out your medal, shirt and bumper goody bag and record your times on our site if you want them there.
We’ve had a reasonable uptake on the Virtual 113 and I genuinely believe it to be a good option if you don’t fancy racing in person, or want to do all the distances together in one chunk on the day. You will then be able to come and experience the race in all it’s fullness next year when hopefully life is a little more normal again
You can send in your pics too, and we’ll get them posted up on our website and social media if you want
3) We could really do with some more marshals
Normally, we start recruiting marshals early in the race process, but with the mess that 2020 has been, we simply haven’t got around too starting. We’d abolsutely love any friends, family, enemies, loved ones etc that you may be able to rope in to be on our team of marshals on August 2nd, and should it be behind closed doors, it’d mean they can come into the race site as part of our team and enjoy the finish in person.
They don’t need any experience at all, and will have a full briefing (probably also by video) and we’ll kit them up with a team shirt and everything they will need (even though they don’t need to get within 2m to cheer you on and provide a point of contact, they’ll also be issued with gloves, mask and hand gel – Insurance stipulation)
You get paid for marshalling too, and they can choose from either £20 cash or a £40 113 Events voucher, and we’ll keep them in hot food and drink on the day too and make sure it’s a fun shift for them
They don’t need any experience, and we only ask that they know their left from their right and are over 16 please
If you have anyone that can get involved, please ask them to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll happily welcome them to team 113
Right, that’s it from me. I hope you’re all still awake after that marathon.
The current situation is changing on a daily basis, and we will of course keep everyone updated should anything change that effects if we can or can’t run the day on August 2nd. Things appear to be improving, but no one truly knows what the future may hold for tomorrow right now, let alone in nearly 2 months time.
If you’ve got any concerns or questions, please just give me a ring on 07595 591612
Thanks, keep safe, and happy training
Graeme, Nicci and the 113 Events team