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Athletics Canada announces return to play roadmap

Athletics Canada's plan for responsible programming in every province and territory

Athletics Canada has announced its plan for runners to safely return to practices, and eventually, racing. As the situation varies greatly depending on location, there won’t be a standard approach that applies to all provinces and clubs. Instead, the Back on Track guidelines are a national tool to assist in developing a responsible return to programming in every province and territory.

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Photos from a track session on old blue at Point Grey in Vancouver, BC Canada.

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The back-on-track steps

First, the province or territory’s public health officials must greenlight sport in their area. Second, clubs must review the risk assessment questionnaire (which can be requested by public health or NSO officials) and decide it’s safe to open their facility. Third, the head coach must sign off on the protocols document. All athletes and coaches also need to complete waivers (including health questionnaires). Each club will be individually authorized to resume training. Finally, athletes will need to complete daily health questionnaires to continue training with their group.

Further measures

  • Maintain consistent groups (for example, assign specific training partners and continue to meet with those people only)
  • Daily on-site symptom screening
  • All equipment must be sanitized after use (starting blocks, batons, hurdles)
  • Personal protective equipment must be worn by coaches
  • High jump and pole vault mats are not to be used at this time
  • No shaking hands, no high fives, no sharing water bottles

Athletics Canada has yet to outline new competition procedures.

OFSAA 2019. Photo: Maxine Gravina

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World Health Organization’s outline for mass gatherings

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh announced last Thursday that for the first time ever, the Boston Marathon has officially been cancelled. While Boston will go virtual for 2020, there remain only three world majors set to take place this fall (London, Chicago and New York).

Based on the WHO’s recommendations for large gatherings, organizers need to asses risk based on the context of the event. However, they do recommend if participating virtually is an option, opt for the online solution. The one thing marathons have going for them is that they’re outdoors, which is certainly recommended over mass indoor gatherings. While it’s not impossible to catch COVID while outside, the chances are significantly lower, according to B.C.’s provincial health officer,¬†Dr. Bonnie Henry.