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On The Road Again - Covid Update August 31st 2020

Permitted Road Races - On The Road Again

August 31st 2020

canned heat on the road again album cover

There was welcome news yesterday, August 31st, when updated and clearer guidance on Road Races, and activities involving juveniles, was issued by Sport Ireland and Athletics Ireland. This is particularly welcome, when a number of road races, with Athletics Ireland permits, are scheduled to go ahead in the next few weeks, in Charleville and Allihies.

It's been a rough couple of months, and, while we're not out of the woods year, it does look like we have a chance of seeing some more races over the coming months.

With the calendar so sparse, it may be an opportunity for clubs to go ahead with races involving 200 or less people.  A barrier that will need to be addressed, however, is the 3 month notices requirement for Permit Applications (Cork County Board require a months notice and Athletics Ireland HQ require a further 2 months). It remains to be seen if AAI HQ will allow dispensation with, at least part of, their 2 months.


Main Points

Parent/Guardian attendance at underage activities

Some parents/guardians may wish to attend underage sporting events, competition and training in a supervisory capacity. Such parents/guardians are not classified as spectators.

All parents/guardians attending must be included in the numbers onsite for planned outdoor athletics competition, and included in the 200 person maximum attendance

Each organisation shall determine if they can facilitate such attendance.

Organisations who choose to permit events to proceed shall ensure that the 200 person limit is not exceeded, and shall ensure that strict adherence to social distancing and public health guidelines is maintained at all times.


At a minimum, the following measures should be implemented by organisers:

1.    No more than one (1) designated individual shall attend the session per child/family/group of children.

2.    Overall numbers must be kept to a minimum, with due consideration to the available space in the venue/facility.

3.    Electronic Contact Tracing & Health Questionnaires must be completed by parents/guardians in advance of attendance.

Each organiser must ensure that there are robust mechanisms in place to limit overall numbers, assist with contact tracing and implement compliance with social distancing and other public health guidelines.

Further Government Covid protocol announcements relating to Sport are due in the coming days, and after September 13th

Road Races

Sport Ireland has acknowledged issues arising with the staging of events on public roads.

Sport Ireland has advised that competition and events may go ahead as planned, under strict protocols and adherence to public health measures, we wish to clarify the following:

Organisers must follow normal procedures when planning events run public roads.

County Boards, Divisions and/or Clubs are required to obtain a licence from the relevant local authority, and engage with the HSE and Gardaí when planning for the event.

The authority for licensing the event remains with the relevant Local Authority –  Sport Ireland guidance does not supersede that of the Local Authority. If the Local Authority is not satisfied that the event can be held without breaching the restriction on spectators or other regulations, it can refuse to grant a licence. Sport Ireland has no role with regard to licensing events of this nature.

"Athletics Ireland can confirm that any permitted road racing events with up to 200 participants can proceed under the current government guidelines. However, please ensure all Covid protocols are followed and that the event is advertised as a closed event with no spectators, and please include strategies to prevent groups forming during the event."

Editorial Comment
The clarifications relating to road races are welcome. In essence, apart from the 200 person limit, along with Covid Protocols, organisers of Registered Athletics Ireland events just need to do what they have always been doing - liaise with the City/County Council, Gardai, and Emergency Services. 

It's probably a good idea to ensure that the local Community Council is aware of the event - and on board. Sadly, last weekend, a long-running Athletics Ireland event in Wexford, the Oyelgate Half-Marathon, which had all the boxes ticked with respect to Gardai and road closures, were forced to cancel at a very late stage, due to local objections.

Canned Heat - On the Road Again

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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