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ReStarting Athletics - June 19th 2020

Now the Fun Begins - Managing the ReStart of Athletics


The contents of this editorial do not necessarily reflect the views of Cork Athletics County Board


back to business restarting athletics

This evening, the Govenment announced the consolidation of Phases 3, 4 and 5 of the Road to Recovery plan. Included in the revised schedule is the resumption of all sports, although with limited spectator numbers.

From 29 June, groups of 50 will be allowed indoors, with groups of 200 permitted outdoors. This will increase from 20 July, with the outdoor numbers increasing to 500. No indication was given as to when the 500 limit might be increased, however An Taoiseach said that no event of 5,000 or more would be permitted before the end of September.

A caveat is that each individual sport's National Governing Body must decide when that sport will reopen, and at what pace. So, we will have to wait and see Athletics Ireland's plans are. We can probably expect to hear those over the weekend, or early next week.

What does this mean for Clubs?

On the face of it, it looks like all clubs will be able to reopen fully from June 29th, subject to the 200 limit. It should be noted that ALL CLUBS must have a contact system in place, and also ensuring that all members contacts are up to date. As per earlier AAI statements, each club MUST have appointed a COVID-19 Safety Officer...So, if you haven't already done so, please do it NOW!

Races and Events

Athletics Ireland Insurance for events has been suspended since March. It remains suspended until AAI says otherwise, so it is advisable not to jump the gun. We have been awaiting, for several weeks now, a response to a request for a statement, with periodic updates, on the status of Event Permits that had been granted quite some time ago - in some cases as much as 12 months ago.

It is likely thatevents will be required to update their event Medical Plans, to cover aspects of COVID-19. They will also be responsible for ensuring contact details for all participants, event personnel, and spectators.  It should be noted that the 200 limit includes all of these additional people, so the 200 limit may mean that participant numbers are limited to 150 to 170, depending on the complexity of the event

The 500 limit, effective from July 20th, will have the same constraints arising from race support, so participant numbers are likely to be limited to 450 to 470.


All in All, these are positive developments, but we need to walk before we sprint. As in any 'normal' event (pre-COVID), mistakes will be made, but we must learn from them...and pass the word to other clubs and organisers. Some clubs are already partially back, while others are still waiting - perhaps due to lack of access to a premises. Whether you're back or not, you MUST appoint a COVID-19 Safety Officer. If you resume without doing so, there is a strong possibility that some aspects of liability may fall on the club officers, particularly club chairperson. 

Tracks and other facilities in Cork have been closed during the Lockdown. These are opening up gradually, as control masures are put in place to cater for changes arising from COVID-19.  It is unfortunate that, in Cork, we do not have a track that is under the control of Cork Athletics, or any of its member clubs.  This is a disappointing position to be in, and perhaps something we all should examine critically and constructively.  It should be noted however that the Mallow track development should go some way towards easing this problem....but that's a little bit down the road yet.



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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