Serpentine Running Club Plan for Athletics Restart during COVID Pandemic


In the context of the current pandemic, this plan sets out the Club’s approach to recommencing the coaching of small groups, rides and club runs, prior to all restrictions being removed. England Athletics (EA) has advised that athletes within England can meet outside in groups of up to six people, or five athletes plus one qualified coach for small group training/coaching, with the proviso that all adhere to social distancing i.e. remain 2 metres apart.

Unfortunately, larger club training sessions, events, competitions, club committee and face-to-face meetings and social events continue to be suspended, or take place in a virtual context, and will be until further notice. Online coaching can continue for larger groups of athletes.

Alongside this plan, each coach is required to undertake risk assessments for sessions (further details below) and return them to Liz Ayres, the Club’s Covid19 coordinator, at at least 24 hours prior to a session taking place.

These are extremely challenging times, so it is important that we support each other as a club. Everyone’s mental and physical health is of our concern. Keep in touch and follow the government guidelines about safe distancing and safe exercise environments.  Further updates will be provided as EA guidance changes.

Current parameters

As a Club, our guidelines for athletes and coaches’ return to activity comply fully with EA guidance

Below, are critical measures. It is important that we adhere to these to ensure we provide a safe environment for our athletes and coaches, and are covered by insurance provided through EA

1) Exercise outdoors in groups of up to 6 people is allowed.
2) A coach and up to 5 athletes or runners can train together.*
3) All group exercise must be done in adherence with the government’s guidelines- maintaining 2 metre social distancing.
4) Group exercise must take place in outdoor spaces.
5) As an alternative to outdoor training sessions, virtual options can be deployed for larger group sessions.
6) A risk assessment and session training plans must be filled out by each coach before a session takes place (see below for more guidance).
7) Jumps and throws are now currently permitted, and equipment hygiene procedures should be followed.
8) Public health guidance should be adhered to e.g. hand cleansing and masks worn on public transport when travelling to and from the venue.
9) Coaches and athletes who are self-isolating should not take part in group sessions, whilst those shielding should adhere to PHE guidance i.e. only meeting one other person outside.
10) Coaches with minors in their group (under 18) or vulnerable adults should ensure they adhere to the normal EA guidance e.g. avoiding being alone with a single under 18 etc. Parents should give their consent that they are happy for their children to recommence training via email to , and it is good practice for relevant coaches to share the risk assessments with parents.
11) Additionally, coaches must have valid, in-date coaching licences and should coach within the specific qualification boundaries, to ensure that all coached sessions are covered by insurance.
12) All coached sessions must be pre booked to avoid over subscription except by prior approval with Liz Ayres.

*Coaches can run one session after another for two different groups of up to 5, but a gap should be included between sessions to help ensure social distancing. There may be some logic in view of space constraints to e.g. adopt staggered starts etc for repetitions to allow for social distancing.

Track usage

The Club are currently liaising with the Paddington track management regarding the possibility of reserving lanes. Specific protocols will apply to track usage at Parliament Hill, Battersea and Bermondsey which are not included in this document please check their websites for current policies. Our commitment is to ensure we work with the track management so that a safe environment is available to our athletes and coaches.

Risk Assessment

Each coach needs to fill out a risk assessment. A number of our coaches use different venues. A general example will be sent out and this can be adapted by our coaches but some event specific templates can also be accessed at the following link:

If in each venue used by a coach, they are undertaking a similar type of session, then it is reasonable to complete a single risk assessment for that venue to cover your weekly sessions. Coaches should though complete at least one risk assessment for each venue used. If coaches conduct different types of sessions at the same venue e.g. one for throwers and one for sprinters, then a separate risk assessment should be completed for each session type.

Please ensure that you complete your risk assessment in advance of the session, and forward it to Liz Ayres with your session training plans at least 24 hours prior commencement at  Where coaches have athletes who are under 18 in their group or vulnerable adults, we recommend that the risk assessment is also shared with the parents/carer.

Club Runs

Two and three park club runs will recommence from the 4th of July 2020. New routes will be implemented and risk assessed by Liz Ayres and Sid Wills to begin and finish at Hyde Park bandstand. Groups of 6 athletes will run on staggered start times and by expected pace, all will be expected to adhere to social distancing guidance with no congregation of members before or after the run. An attendance system will be implemented in line with EA guidance and new routes placed on the Serpentine website. All members must arrive ready to run, there will be no bag drop.


Club activities and coaching sessions can resume today, providing they are delivered in line with Government guidance on group sizes of 6 and social distancing of 2m. A register of attendance must be kept.
Full details of British Cycling guidance here


At this current time indoor swimming is not permitted. Swim England have released their guidance but while centres remain closed as per Government policy it is not yet possible to assertain which sessions will be going ahead. .


Club Committee approval of this plan 19th June 2020.
Plan distributed to coaches on 22nd June 2020 and uploaded to Serpentine website.
Coaches to begin group sessions with athletes, where appropriate, from 1st July 2020 and to forward risk assessments and session plans to the Club Covid Co-ordinator, at least 24 hours prior to sessions.


Update 11 July 2020

  • Government guidance from the 4th of July allows social distancing of 2m apart or 1m in mitigating circumstances. England Athletics advises that members should adhere to the 2m guidance.
  • The juniors squad falls under OOSS (Out Of School Setting) which the Government has announced on the 4th July 2020 can allow groups of 15 children up to the age of 13 years old with social distancing commencing from the end of the school summer term 18th July 2020.  This will be allowed under England Athletics guidance as long as risk mitigations in place, the club can implement this safely only for U11s and training will now be organised to reflect this change.


Liz Ayres, Club Covid Co-ordinator 20/6/20.