Global pandemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), spread to the United Kingdom in January 2020. Transmission within the UK was confirmed in February, leading to an epidemic with a rapid increase in cases in March in the UK.
For runners it started with international events being affected that Redway Runners were taking part in, like the club trip to Malta not getting event tees and runners from some countries not being allowed to take part, then runners taking part in other events having them cancelled like Malaga half, and Cyprus, with some of our runners, finding return flights cancelled
Then in the UK races started to be cancelled or postponed, including, London Marathon, the new Twin Lakes 20 mile race in MK, the MK Marathon, the Milton Keynes Festival of Running was one of the last races to take place locally.
parkruns got cancelled around the world and the last UK event and indeed around the world was on 14 March 2020
As the virus started to take hold in the UK, Redway Runners introduced on the 14 March 2020 (see more click here), changes to club runs to reduce contact and move runs to meeting outside and stop passing of equipment. With Tim Miles, our Medical lead we held a Facebook Live update and Q&A session (click here) this has been watched by over 3,900 people, Tim also later gave advice on club Podcasts.
On Monday, 16 March the UK Government announced mass gatherings should not take place and people should avoid contact, that lead to England Athletics (EA) issuing a statement (click here) that all face to face activity should cease in running clubs till end of April 2020 (extended then to 31 May 2020) Redway Runners immediately cancelled all runs and Face to Face meeting, (click here) on Tuesday 17 March 2020 with the last run in the club the Tuesday morning run.
The following week on Monday 23 March, restriction were put in place for people to stay at home and social distance (keep a distance of 2 metres) throughout this period except for essential purchases, essential work travel (if remote work is not possible), medical needs, one exercise per-day (alone or with members of their household), and providing care for others.
Even the Redway Runners logo took part in Social Distancing, for 1 April 2020 (April Fools Day)
Redway Runners under lockdown
Although not officially described as ‘Lockdown’ this became a common description, Redway Runners had to adapt to this new life and developed a range of activities to keep the club active, the club weekly mail continued and the new weekly news Podcast carried on, although collecting interviews created new challenges, with most by telephone interviews
But new opportunities soon arose:
Every day the club put up a daily challenge, many with selfies, showing maybe life in the new method or a jolly image
We produced a number of Podcast runs for people to follow, for example from the Giffard park pub, following the Art and Artefacts Trail along the Grand Union at Campbell Park, Willen. Then Newport Pagnell History/quiz run, the secret and hidden MK parkrun, plus a Lathbury run.
Core with the Yabsley Brothers
For three weeks Alfie and Archie Yabsley produced a core session that we released on our Facebook page and club You tube channel
Pub Quiz and Games
We started on Saturday 28 March 2020 doing a weekly Facebook live pub quiz produce in a rota with Martin, Kevin S and Glenn) you can view click here or results click here Glenn Quiz 11 April click here 18 April with the Lawrence family click here then on a rota with Tracy and Annie joining hosting in May 2020.
Redway Runners Got Talent
On Good Friday evening we held ‘Redway Runners Got Talent’ with 16 different performances from club members from singing, music, juggling, dancing and other unique talents, more click here
Virtual Race events
At the weekends we held Virtual races with the following:
- 29 March 2020 – Social Distance 5K, each person submitted a run distance of 5K or more with the time and then that was worked out to the time for a male aged 23 – 27 years, each runner could make their own medal
- 5 April 2020 – Isolation Marathon, runners submitted a run over 2miles and this was worked out to a female runner aged 23-27 years
- 13 April – The Easter Padlock Down
Annette, Katie T and Sheryl all produced Interval sessions for the club see them click here
Virtual Challenge with Results Base
We held a Virtual Challenge with Results Base, for Redway Runner to run 1 mile, 5K or 10K over a two week period
Virtual session with FitMK
On 21 April 2020 FitMK held a virtual session for Redway Runners members
MK Running Map
Between 26 April and 3 May we captured some of the club members runs to create a map of our activity. Stats and images can be found using the storymap link below (best on a pc or a tablet, but can work on a phone although it may crash from time to time!).
Unsurprisingly, the long and relatively flat Railway Walk in north Milton Keynes was the most popular place to run. Thanks to the 50-plus members who sent in run data.
History Lessons with Mike
With schools mainly closed, home schooling was common, Mike King from the club started to produce history lessons, the club hosted the material so parents could access click here
Message from the Mayor
The Mayor of Milton Keynes, Sam Crooks recorded a message for the club, to watch click here
Virtual Club run
On Friday 24 Alistair arranged the first Redway Runners Virtual Green pub evening
Running tops Quiz
James Dwight from the club produced a running quiz based on event tops
Big Green Litter Pick
For the first week in June 2020 we held a Big Green Litter pick with the help from MK Parks Trust and ARC (for insurance)
Weekly cover photos
We needed cover photos for the club Facebook page and for the weekly mail – members voted the one below the first one
Club business, not as usual
The Redway Runners Furzton relay for 2020 was cancelled, to come back in 2021
MK24 planned for June also had to be postponed to 2021
Beat the Barge, Old Money run and Santa Saunter are planned to go ahead
The club had already started collecting renewal fees, part way through, EA rather unhelpfully, reduced the EA fee by £1, which would result in much additional work to refund, therefore committee agreed to keep the fee the same and donate it to the club charity of the year for 2020/2021 and refund if requested, also we gave members additional time to renew (up till at least one month after activities resume
Our beginners were due to graduate at the parkrun at MK on Saturday 21 March but with the event cancelled that had to be put on hold till the club was back up and running and parkrun was operating again
New Beginners groups
The club had planned to start 11 beginners groups on the 18 April 2020, these had to be put on hold
AGM and end of club year
The lockdown fell over the end of the club year, annual accounts still had to be finished and auditted and AGM reports writen, but the AGM was put on hold for lockdown to finish.
With the continuing situation we decided to hold the AGM as a Zoom meeting on 29 June 2020
Progress for Need for Speed, planning for Redway Runners 10th birthday celebrations, committee meetings all had to be delayed amongst others
Hopefully though light at the end of the tunnel, but for Archie, it is behind you!!
Getting Up and Running again
When getting started again we will be able to start planning when we have date and restrictions that we are likely to have to operate under.
Our priority will be to get the run in the ‘normal’ club weekly runs up running and decide how to complete the beginners groups that stopped just before graduation
Next we will look to see if we can run some return to running groups, start our courses (Need for Speen and next beginners groups in September) etc
We started to prepare to get started again in mid May and formed a small working group, to develop plans which we initially presented to the run leads, we also put out this message to the club, click here
In June 2020 England Athletics issued new guidance that allowed clubs to start again, but with maximum of a total of 6 runners, plus social distance and hygene issues addressed
The club re-started on the 4 June 2020 with members only able to book club runs via Love Admin and agreeing to additional guidance, plus the run lead agreeing to extra restrictions to make sure the club complied with the new rules, click here
At the end of July we increased numbers on runs to 12 and then started under 18s and completed the Move Up to Marathon group
In September we managed to hold a Covid secure Daytona 500 with over 180 Redway Runners taking part
November 2020 saw a second National lockdown, so club runs had to stop from the 5 November to the 2 December 2020
December 2020 saw us starting club runs again from the 2nd, but this was short lived with Milton Keynes entering tier 4 on the 20 December, meaning all runs had to stop again, but on the 19 December we managed to hold our second Daytona event, adding a Sprint lap, a 2 hour event and a youngsters fun run, we had the Mayor taking part this time and our very own Green Santa.
For the start of 2021 we introduced ‘Beat the clock Handicap run’, then runs in the club started at the end of March 2021, the club started the long process of building back to a new normal with runs and events happening agin
A review of the Redway Runners year click here
A review of Milton Keynes year click here
The club started 2022 still with some restrictions that we maintained, but from mid-March 2022 we finally removed all of those from the rules for the run leads to manage run
So we are finally back running Milton Keynes again