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Running and Social Distance - How Are You Doing?

Are YOU Practicing Social Distancing?

Message from Cork Athletics Webmaster
(This post does not necessarily reflect the views of Cork Athletics County Board)

We are ALL advised to practice Social Distancing at all times when out and about. It is critical for us all, but particularly to protect the elderly and vulnerable, including those who may have underlying health conditions.

Social Distancing

Social distancing aims, through a variety of means, to decrease or interrupt the spread of COVID-19. It does this by minimising contact between potentially infected individuals and healthy individuals.

Social distancing is keeping a 2 metre (6 feet) space between you and other people. You should not shake hands or make close contact where possible.

Dept. of Health - Updated Measures in Response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

It is important to reduce the risk of further spread of the infection.

Self-isolate: People are now being asked to stay at home if they have ‘flu-like symptoms (for example, fever, cough and so on) regardless of travel or contact history.

Social Interactions: Reduce interactions with people outside the workplace as much as possible.

All citizens are required to:

  •     Avoid crowded places
  •     Increase interpersonal distance (ideally separation of at least 2 metres, not shaking hands, avoiding communal sleeping areas)
  •    When in crowded settings, people should practice personal protective measures as they usually do (for example, frequent hand hygiene, avoid touching eyes/nose/mouth)


common sense running with social distance

This report appeared on a Cork Runners Facebook Page today:

"This morning I have met 2 groups of 3/4 runners, no distance at all and were even chatting away. Please be careful, do not underestimate this virus what the govt asked us to do. As much as I love running and I do understand how you all feel, the most important thing right now is protecting ourselves and others. #staysafe"

Another story (edited), was posted on a private forum today:

 "I went out when I thought would be nice and early this morning. Really enjoyed the first half around the open water towards Blackrock, nice and quiet with just a few people about.

Hit of reality to see Testing Centre up and running in the stadium. However I Realised that social distancing is just NOT working when I headed back along the Railway path towards Rochestown. The path was already crowded. Lots of people walking in pairs without room for the 2 metres social distancing.

I’m still traumatised by a runner who actually spat on the path as he passed me. Will have to stick to going there at the crack of dawn from now on. Or run more safety in my home estate. Wonder how long before they might shut that walkway down??"

My own experience is pretty similar:
The crowds out walking over the past week or so have been both huge and growing. The fine weather has brought people out in their droves. Unfortunately the current crisis has brought out many who appear not to be 'au fait. with normal social mores, never mind social distance standards, with people walking in groups of 2, 3, or even more, and making little or no attempt to maintain a social distance between themselves and others.  One would hope that it's just people being unthinking.

In recent days, while out on my runs, I've come across several groups, and have had to completely stop three times, as the path was virtually impassible:

The first time, I stopped 2m from a large group - 3 adults, 3 dogs and 5 kids - and said that I needed to pass, but maintain social distance. Without a further word between us, the group parted sufficiently for me to pass

The second time, this time a family group of 4, again parted, and the Dad said "Sorry". I replied ""You're grand. We're all in this together. Stay safe!"

Third time wasn't so pleasant: Couple with a dog, on an extended lead, completely blocking the path. When I said that I needed to pass and maintain social distance, I was, unequivocally and unceremoniously, told 'exactly where I should go'!


Nevertheless the vast majority of people, both runners and walkers, clearly are intent on maximising social distance, moving to one side, and often going single file. Runners are going on their own, by and large.

The scariest incident was when walking into a local supermarket, a guy, on his way out, came close to me - well under 1m - and, immediately after he passed, coughed hard, several times, without making any attempt to cover his mouth at all!!! I was very shaken by it. I told the person on the checkout about the incident and was told "It happens all the time. We're very worried about it"

Moral of the story: Expect the unexpected! Maintain social distance, even if others don't.

Group Running

 If you are one of those small numbers who continue to train in groups, please STOP!

If you must run in a group, please maintain a 2m gap between you and everyone else, including your group members.

Health & Runners

As runners, in general, we can be pretty arrogant about our health. We're fitter than most, so may feel we're not going to get the virus, or if we do, it'll be mild.  When I was a good runner (many years ago...I'm now in the 'twilight' of my running career), I often found that an unexplained slight drop in performance, followed by a boost several days later, was explained by "Y'know, I was sick last week, but didn't realise it". You may be 'grand' now...but please, please don't, unwittingly, be a Covid-19 vector.

As part of the wider community, the running fraternity needs to be aware of others who may not be as fit and healthy as us. 80% of Covid-19 transmission is between family members.

Look out for your loved ones = Follow all official HSE Guidelines and Advice




About Us

Cork Athletics County Board is a constituent member of Athletics Ireland. Cork Athletics is the governing body, administering athletics, track and field (T&F), cross-country (XC) and running in county Cork. The Board comprises elected representatives of constituent athletic clubs and running clubs. Cork County Board AAI organises Championship races and competition, including road, track & field (T&F) and Cross-country (XC), at junior, juvenile, senior and masters levels, and selects representation for the county. In addition, training and education is provided for coaches and officials. The Board also regulates the Athletics Ireland race/event permit (licence) process for county Cork.
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