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Athletics Ireland Event Guidelines June 24th - Idiots Guide

How Can Some Organisers Think 500 Person Limit Equals 500 Participants.......?

tony holohan hseChief Medical Officer, Dr. Tony Holohan

"We know that numbers of 50 for the next phase, for indoor gatherings of all kinds - and that's 50, which includes all people present, whether they're staff or whether they're attendees - we know that that places a restriction on activities"

The Key Phrase here is "includes all people present, whether they're staff or whether they're attendees"  

I know some people are going to try to split hairs and point out "that's only for indoor events", but the same holds for the higher 200, and upcoming, from July 20th, 500 limits.

These are total people present, and this is stated in the AAI Guidelines: "Limits on capacity must take into account all staff, marshals, volunteers and Contractors at the event" and you can add Medical team(s) and Gardai to that, along with anyone else you have involved.

In addition, the guideline also require organisers to provide additional stewards and personnel in car parks, and other areas to guide people and oversee HSE COVID-19 guidelines.

Vocal Minority

We would like all of this to be over, so that we can resume 'normal life' ....whatever that was! Some people won't be happy until we have a vaccine/antidote...and then some more time 'to be sure'. The majority are taking tentative steps topwards re-emerging from their personal isolation, and a minority are seemingly just 'Gung-Ho'.

journal reopening poll statsA recent poll in The found that 28% of nearly 15,000 respondents felt that things are reopening Too Fast, while the majority, 52% believe that the pace is correct, while 13% feel it is too slow.

We ARE emerging, but things need to be taking steadily....Just steady on everyone, and release the handbrake slowly.  We need to protect each other. We are learning new ways of doing things, and, perhaps, not doing some things that we used to feel were essential, but now find that they really aren't.

We also need to try things on a small scale, before we can be confident that we can run the bigger and/or more complex events.  We also need to be aware that other Athletics Federations are organising smaller events initially, mostly behind closed doors, with road races coming at a later stage.

It's Only a Gimmick! 

homer simpson doh

That was a comment, reportedly said by one race organiser, about the AAI guidelines, and passed on to me earlier today.  The mind boggles!

This is pretty serious stuff. In the past few days, we have seen parts of the US go ballistic, with the virus spiking at higher levels than before their lockdown. Germany, seen as having virtually eliminated the virus, now has an entire town cordoned off, due to resurgence. Australia was also seen as another country to have controlled the virus, however 1,000 troops have been deployed there in recent days. It ain't gone away, it may be under some degree of control, but we have all put the effort into getting to this point - we don't want to become complacent and, like the 'Snakes & Ladders' boardgame, go sliding all the way back California!

Sure...They're only Guidelines

Any organiser who feels that some, or all, the guidelines, are optional had better have a good and valid reason for not complying. In the not-so-unlikely event of something going 'pear shaped', they may well find themselves personally liable. In addition, bad publicity arising may drive sponsors away from future events.

The 3 C's

luke o neillProfessor Luke O'Neill


Virologist Professor Luke O'Neill constantly stresses the need to avoid the 3 C's: Closed Spaces, Crowded locations and Close-Contacts, with the danger worsened when there is an overlap of any two, or, worse still, when all three C's overlap. 

the 3 cs

Race organisers can all but eliminate the Closed Spaces issue, by following the guidelines along with good planning.

The other two are more difficult, but should also be minimised to the greatest possible extent.  Clearly the time of greatest overlap of Crowded locations and Close-Contacts is at race start, and the period before that. Similarly, but to a lesser extent, at and after the finish, and around parking locations.

So What Do You need to Do?

Firstly, Read the Fecking Manuals!! ....Everyone!!


Road Race Event Organiser Guidelines


Road Race Volunteer, Staff and Marshalls Guidelines


Road Race Participant Guidelines

NB This is only an extract of Key Points!!


Every Event should appoint a COVID-19 Officer, who should have NO Other Responsibility
This person should ensure that all COVID plans are in place, that all race personnel are familiar with and compliant with HSE & AAI guidelines, and that all necessary contact details and waivers have been received from all participants, race personnel, support entities and, literally, everyone present.


On the day
You will need additional signage and operate routes to and from key locations, in such a way as to minimise crowding and contact.

You need efficient and effective communications, via radio or mobile phone

Plenty of hand sanitiser

Ideally no baggage drop.....people should leave all personal belongings in their cars.

All race personnel should be wearing appropriate PPE

Any desks. e.g. Help desk, should have Plexi-Glass screens and NO sharing of pens/biros, or other material.

Try to go before you leave home....both race personnel and participants
Minimise contact with surfaces and wash your hands/use sanitiser

Start Area
Only essential race personnel should be in the start area, along with participants.
Where possible, use waves and time zones.


Participants ...NO Spitting!! If you need to clear your throat, swallow it!  If you need to snort/blow your nose, use a tissue and put it in YOUR pocket, or bin it!

No chopping in and out around other runners, and no shoving, pushing etc

Water stations.....Do you really need to take on water? If you're properly hydrated, you probably don't.

Finish Line
Once you've finished, go home, or wait for your colleagues at your car. Do NOT hang around the finish area.


Hand timing should only be done for very small, and widely spaced finishers. There should be absolutely NO queueing at the finish. Chip timing is recommended, both for timing and also for contact tracing.

Sterile Area
The finish line and immediate surrounds should be a sterile other words, there shouldn't be anyone in the zone who is not essential.  In addition, a separate area will be required for anyone in distress, where medical personnel can tend to them.

NO spectators should be Present

You will need an awful lot more marshalls/stewards/helpers under Covid-19, and these will eat into your overall total numbers. All officials should be readily identifiable



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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