The staging of all of our remaining 2020 events is subject to government guidelines and we must await further data and information before final decisions can be made.
However, actions that will be taken with regards to social distancing and reduced transmission at all of those events, have been assessed and are listed below. These are designed specifically to limit transmission even if the events are able to proceed.
Please note some or all of these will be required, and that the list is not exhaustive, others may be added. The purpose here is to give runners as much forewarning as possible with regards to potential changes to their 2020 race.
To enable us to adhere with current guidelines and to play our part in reducing possible transmissions we will be introducing the below outlined actions in 2020 (and possibly beyond where required). We must ALL play our part in enabling race events to go ahead and therefore your understanding and help in implementing the below is required and appreciated.
As of Monday 20th April 2020:
The 2020 South Downs Way 100 has been postponed to the weekend of 7th-8th November 2020.
The 2020 Wendover Woods Night 50km has been postponed to the 14th November 2020. Alongside the 50 mile. 1700 start.
The ongoing coronavirus/ Covid-19 pandemic has result in obvious challenges for any events in the near future and unfortunately these two events have succumbed to the continued issues we all face. The reasons for the postponement of these two events are as follows:
- Inability to guarantee being able to staff and volunteer the event to ensure minimum safety standards.
- Loss of numerous check point locations and/ or start finish locations for both events.
- Retraction of permission for the route/ course in some or all areas
The questions that may flow from this information should all be answered within the updated race pages for each event but to summarise the key ones here for ease:
Q. I had an entry to one of the above races, what happens now?
A. If you want to race on the revised date, you need take no further action. Your entry will be carried forward to the new date. We will see you on the start line in November.
Q. I can't make the new date, what are my options?
A. You may cancel your place any time up until 4 weeks prior to race date for a 70% refund.
Q. How long do I have to decide if I want to keep my place?
A. Ultimately as long as you want up until race day, but for the 70% refund you must cancel before 4 weeks prior to race day, so up to early/ mid October.
Q. I don't want to or can't make the revised date, why am I not eligible for a full refund?
A. Please see full details here.
Q. I was entered for both the Wendover Woods Night 50km and the Wendover Woods 50 mile, they are now on the same date - what are my options?
A. Both races take place on Saturday 14th November. The 50 mile starts at 0930 and the 50km starts at 1700, joining the course of the 50 mile 7.5 hours in to the race. It will therefore not be possible to run both races. You may cancel either of your entries for a full refund.
Q. Are there any other changes apart from the date to the two events you mention?
A. Yes. SDW100: Expanded mandatory kit list. No kids 1 mile event. WW50km: Expanded mandatory kit list. New start time of 1700, cut off 0230 Sunday - the race will still take place entirely in darkness.
The first two events on the 2020 calendar are now:
4th July: NDW50
8th-9th August: NDW100
We are keeping these two races in the diary for a number of reasons. Firstly, all of the permissions to stage these events remain in place - including the landowners, course, and start/ finish locations. Secondly, these are races where we anticipate approximately 230-250 starters. If things have opened up in the UK by that stage, we are able to consider options like remote registration, wave starts and adaptation of check point and finish procedures to drastically reduce any group size. We are not suggesting this will be necessary, or even something that could be accepted or permitted. But there are further options open to us with these two events that are not currently possible with the SDW100 and WW50km. Lastly, runners in the UK where 97% of our entrants hail from, are still able to train consistently and sufficiently under government guidelines, for races of this nature.
For any questions as always, please simply email us by clicking here. We will come back to you as soon as we can, we may initially be inundated so please bear with us a few days whilst we get to everybody.
Thank you to all of you, runners and volunteers for your understanding.
As of today, the global situation regarding Covid-19 is still extremely serious, unclear and dynamic. Whilst in the grand scheme of things, running events are not in the least bit important, there are a lot of runners and volunteers within our community, who have forward planned races with us and who will be wondering what the current situation is with regards to those going ahead, postponing or cancelling. For lots of those us, having a race to look forward to provides focus and hope in otherwise difficult times and we are keen to keep things scheduled as they are until we know for sure that it is not possible to stage an event. Here in the UK where over 95% of our runners reside, we are also able to run and train every day. For those who are unsure or unclear on how to train during this period, please refer to this article written by James the RD at Centurion.
The aim of this post is to give our community the maximum amount of information that we can at this stage and to explain how or why that might change.
Everything laid out below is the best vantage point on the future that we can offer. Of course, the details may change or have to be changed further down the line and we ask you to be patient with us if that is necessary. But we have gone as far as we can to make things as clear as possible.
Firstly, if you are a frontline worker in the ongoing crisis then we will most happily accept a request to defer to 2021 or cancel your entry for 2020. We’ve implemented this for all events up to the NDW100 in August but we will consider this for any of our 2020 events if you need. Email us by clicking here if you need to do so.
As of today, the calendar is unchanged following the 4 initial postponements and cancellations earlier in March. The primary option for each event is to go ahead, with risk mitigation and reduced transmission potential. We can’t outline the exact details of that at this point, because if we are in a situation where public gatherings are permitted by mid June, we don’t know how many people that will be limited to and/or which of these measures we might need to use. We may look at all or none of the following:
Removing race registration, bibs to be posted out in advance
No kit check at the start, a smaller number of random kit checks to be performed on course
Rolling wave starts of small numbers over wide windows
Check points reverting to drop bags instead of standard check points
Sanitiser provision at every aid station, start and finish
Government mandate banning public gatherings - the size of those gatherings also is clearly a key factor.
The NHS being overwhelmed - no organiser can in good conscience go ahead in a situation where the NHS is pushed to the limit, but if that is the case then the primary point will stand anyway and the government will not permit large gatherings
Governing body and hence insurance for the events is withdrawn for any given race date
Landowners retracting or removing permissions to use locations as start/ finish venues or key check points
Inability to safely staff or get volunteers to and from the event
The ability to shield all parties from transmission of the virus
South Downs Way 100 13th-14th June: If the event is not viable on the given dates then we will postpone the event until the weekend of 7th - 8th November. In that instance, all entries will be carried forward to the new date, runners will not need to do anything. If a runner is unwilling or unable to race the new date then they will be eligible for a 70% refund, any time up to 4 weeks prior to race day. If the event is not able to take place on 6th - 7th November, then it will be cancelled until 2021. Scroll down for what happens in the event of a cancellation.
North Downs Way 50 4th July 2020: If the event is not viable on the given date then we will postpone the race until November 28th 2020. In that instance, all entries will be carried forward to the new date, runners will not need to do anything. If a runner is unwilling or unable to race the new date then they will be eligible for a 70% refund, any time up to 4 weeks prior to race day. If the event is not able to take place on 28th November, then it will be cancelled until 2021. Scroll down for what happens in the event of a cancellation.
Wendover Woods 50km 17th-18th July: If the event is not viable on the given dates then we will postpone the event until Saturday 14th November, the same weekend as the Wendover Woods 50 mile so that it takes place at night as the original format - a possible 1700 start time. The 50km will be run as a separate race alongside the latter stages of the 50 mile. In that instance, all entries will be carried forward to the new date, runners will not need to do anything. If a runner is unwilling or unable to race the new date then they will be eligible for a 70% refund, any time up to 4 weeks prior to race day. If the event is not able to take place on 14th November, then it will be cancelled until 2021. If you are entered in both the 50 mile and 50km at Wendover and the 50km is postponed to November, you will have the option to cancel either. Scroll down for what happens in the event of a cancellation.
If any of the NDW100, TP100, CW50, A100, SDW50 or WW50 are not vialble in 2020, then they will be cancelled to 2021. Scroll down for what happens in the event of a cancellation.
That we are not in a position to answer right now. We anticipate that around 6 weeks from race day it will be much clearer if there is a chance that an event can still go ahead. We will make the decision by reviewing the situation daily, exactly as we are now. As soon as we are able to confirm either proceeding or cancelling we will do so immediately via mail out to competitors and via all of our social media channels.
Initially for the SDW100 in mid June we will update runners weekly via social media and fortnightly via email from today.
If any of our events is cancelled in 2020, then all entrants will have the option to defer their place to the 2021 event at no cost. If you can't make the new date you can receive a 70% refund of your 2020 fee. The decision on whether to cancel or defer must be made within 2 weeks of the announcement that an event is cancelled. There will be no refunds available on any deferred entry, for any reason, after the two weeks have subsided, so you must decide at that point to commit to 2021. This is because the cost to us of missing a year of the event and allowing deferals with no fee is heavy financially and we must know what we are dealing with as a business as soon as possible should this be required, so that we can plan properly for a difficult period ahead.
If this situation transpires, please read through the post here for full details. It is not a decision we want to have to make but it is the very best we can do in the circumstances we all face.
Whilst many events are cancelling to 2021 rather than postpone into an already busy second half of the year, we obviously have the additional challenge of trying to keep the Grand Slam of 50s and 100s alive for almost 200 of our 2020 entrants in either the 50 or 100 mile slam. As such we will look to postpone up to three more events before we cancel to 2021.
Any 2020 event that goes ahead will act as part of the 2020 Grand Slam. If an event is cancelled in 2020, then the 2021 edition of that event will count towards both the 2020 Grand Slam and the 2021 Grand Slam. Examples:
Eg. 2020 NDW100 is cancelled but the other three 100s go ahead. 2020 Grand Slam of 100s will include the 2020 TP100, A100, SDW100 and the 2021 NDW100.
Eg. 2020 NDW50 and CW50 are cancelled. 2020 Grand Slam of 50s will include 2020 SDW50, WW50 and 2021 NDW50 and CW50
We will be opening 2021 events in the usual time frame irrespective of the ongoing situation and irrespective of the fact that some events will not have taken place in 2020, before the 2021 event is launched. The first example of this is the 2021 South Downs Way 50 which will open for registrations in mid-May, date TBC shortly. The TP100 will follow in mid June and so on and so forth.
What happens if I enter the 2021 event, but then the 2020 event gets cancelled and my entry deferred at no cost, such that I have two entries to the same event?
At that point we will cancel your paid for entry and refund you in full.
Your entry will automatically be carried over to the 2021 event at no cost.
Before answering this it is important to define the double slam. The 50 and 100 mile grand slams are separate ‘events’ and awards are presented for the achievement of either the 50 or 100 mile slam. The double slam is not an official event. Whilst we recognise it on the website statistics in the form of the 600 club, there are no awards for the Double Slam - much in the same way as the downs double - it is a record keeping exercise only. Running eight extremely arduous events in close proximity to one another is not something we will ever actively promote. Nevertheless we recognise that for a very select few - usually 5 or so runners each year, this is a journey they want to test themselves against. Anybody entered the double slam for this year who now has events on back to back weekends either has the opportunity to test themselves against a truly arduous task, or to try either the 50 or 100 mile slam with an event or two added on and go for the double slam another year. If we could spread the events out any more, we would do so, but it is not possible for a raft of reasons. This schedule will take a massive toll on volunteers and staff, so please consider that we really do empathise if your dream is now even harder to attain. But for the 13 double slam entrants for 2020 we wish you luck if you choose to accept the task and will support you every step of the way.
If you have any questions on any of the above please just ask. Thank you to our community for pulling together and providing support for both us and each other during this difficult situation. Special thanks to the many front line workers fighting to keep the country safe and working, we are greatly indebted to you all.
This week we have held two facebook live sessions just to re-iterate where we are in terms of the 2020 events season and what runners should be thinking about in terms of running and staying strong at this time.
This post could be extremely long and broken into different sections, but it if it is to be of any use as a quick resource to make things easier for our runners, it needs to be short and to the point. So we'll go with just the headlines for now and we can expand if asked.
From the Q&A's, people asked for info on:
- How to train for 100 miles during the crisis
- Ideas for treadmill sets
- Home Strength workouts
- Mental training and preparation
- Immune system supression as a result of training
TRAINING FOR THE SDW100/ A JUNE ULTRA DURING THE CRISIS
The SDW100 is our next event scheduled for June 13th-14th, with the NDW50 scheduled now for 3 weeks after that on July 4th.
Both of these events are very clearly at the mercy of the ongoing crisis, but as it stands, 27th March 2020, we are not going to postpone them just yet. The situation is extremely volatile and with over 11 weeks to race day there is simply so much yet to happen. This could change tomorrow, or in a few weeks, or not at all - we simply don't know. The reasons we would have to postpone are obvious and the same for any organiser: possible addition to an NHS under extreme burden, a continued ban on gatherings, landlords/ authorities retracting contracts etc.
Right now, in the UK today, we are able to run once a day. For the next 3 weeks, any runner of any ability who is training for a June ultra should be looking to run or exercise for 5-6 days a week for up to an hour at a time - and that would be Gold Standard training for a 100 mile race which is 11 weeks away.
A training block for an event should not last more than 12-14 weeks, for any athlete. Because that is the maximum sustained period of training where improvements are continuous before a plateau would be reached and a race or easy period would need to be inserted.
If you are entered into the SDW100 - break your training into the following phases starting from now:
Base training: 8-11 weeks out from race day
Build phase: 5-8 weeks out from race day
Peak phase: 2-5 weeks out from race day
Taper: from 2 weeks out until race day
Recovery: 2 weeks post race
Right now we are in the base phase of your training. You should be looking to build consistency and include variety. Speedwork should be done at the start of a training block for a 100, not at the end. You should be looking to increase specificity through a training block, so more volume and aerobic conditioning the deeper into your training block you get.
An ideal week at this stage might be (all of this can be done locally to you)
Monday - Rest
Tuesday - Progression run 60 mins: 15 mins easy, 15 mins at breathing threshold, 15 mins Lactate threshold/ zone 4/ 10km effort, 15 mins easy
Wednesday - Recovery Run: 30-40 mins very easy / 100 mile race pace
Thursday - 60 mins easy/ zone 2 overall with 3 x 6 mins at 10km effort with 2 minute easy jog recoveries in the second half
Friday - Recovery Run: 30-40 mins very easy
Saturday - Easy/ Zone 2/ Aerobic Endurance 60 mins with 10 x 10 sec pick ups working legs but not lungs
Sunday - 60-90 mins at race pace with race day kit on board
Total Volume: 5-6 hours
Of course ideally in time we would stretch that long run in terms of duration but far too many athletes are guilty of leaning almost exclusively on that long run each week and losing any consistency day to day. That is a balance which never pays off. I would rather have an athlete run 5 days a week an hour day, rather than a three hour weekend run and twice for an hour in the week.
If you run a similar shape of week every week as above for the next 3 weeks you will be in fantastic shape coming into the Build phase of your training block.
If you are not used to running extremely local routes then I would urge you to get the OS Mapfinder app. Which allows you to see all the local roads and trails around you and plan new routes that keep you within a relative stones throw of the front door. If you are not used to training alone, not doing 'training races' or running shorter loops, use this as a chance to explore those things and I guarantee you, that you will open up your running horizons. When this is over you may not want to do your 20 mile long run on the 0.5 mile local loop but the option is there to use that for other things - double days, speed work, back to backs, mental conditioning.
Many people have less recovery time available to them given the current situation. Front line workers may have none whatsoever (which is why we are offering those people exceptional cancellation options), those at home with young kids still trying to work may also struggle. However if you are someone who is now not commuting and potentially have more recovery time available to you, use it. You may be training lower volume than usual, but the more you focus on sleep, routine and eating as well as possible, the more energy and motivation you will take into your running when things free up again.
As ultra runners one thing we know for sure is that through tough times, we endure and return stronger. If you are finding the current situation is causing anxiety or stress - and that will be the case for the vast majority of us, you will find your cortisol levels are higher and associated symptoms prevail including but not limited too fatigue, 'fuzzy brain', fluctuating appetite and mood swings. Use your running and training to add structure to your day, and use these things to relax your mind. If you can get out even for 20-30 mins for a walk that is absolutely better than nothing at all - for your mind and your body. Relax and don't stress about training. The above plan if you can run it will give you the feeling of working productively and improving fitness and conditioning for whatever is ahead.
Just a brief idea of a few sessions we often presecribe as treadmill workouts for those who have access at home. These can be translated into turbo, eliptical, watt bike sessions etc.
Treadmill hills - set to 8% and jog slowly for 1 mile then 1 flat mile at a faster pace and repeat x 3
Treadmill HIlls/ Hike: 5' w/u on 0 incline, speed 6.5kmph. Maintaining speed throughout, alternate 5' at incline 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 with 5' on flat in between each climb. Total time 55 mins
Treadmill Hills/ Hike: 5' w/u. Keeping speed at 6.5kmph, 2' at each incline 8,10,12 then 4' on flat. Repeat x 4 for 45 mins total
‘Michigan’ speed session – This involves no stopping or slow running. Run ¾ mile fairly hard (around half marathon effort) then ½ mile faster (around 10k effort) and repeat x4 (total distance of 5 miles). Include a 1 mile warm-up and warm-down jog with strides and dynamic warm-up exercises like butt kicks, fast high knees and skipping.
Pyramid speed session – 800m-1200m-1600m-1200m-800m with rests/ easy jog of 2 mins-2.5 mins-3 mins-2.5 mins-2 mins, running the shorter distances at 5k effort and the longer ones closer to 10k effort. Try to have the second half distances run slightly faster than the equivalent distances in the first half. Include a warm-up and warm-down jog with strides and dynamic warm-up exercises like butt kicks, fast high knees
Now is the time to be doing some strength and conditioning work to accompany your running. With the current restrictions, this is the ideal time to get into the habit of doing these exercises regularly to complement your running. Twice a week for 20 minutes using just your body weight is a great place to start and much as with the running plan above, is gold standard if you can keep this up consistently. A 15-20 minute set might look like this:
Plank Hold - 30 secs
Side Plank - 20 secs
Bridge - 60 secs
Bridge Hold - Lift alternative legs x 10 on each leg
Clams - 15 on each leg using band
Squats - x 12 Using ski pole to hold weight
Lunges - 6 forward and 6 back
Press Up - Hold for 60 secs
5 Press Ups
Side Lunges - 6 on each side concentrating on balance
5 Press Ups
IMMUNO SUPPRESSION AND TRAINING
For those concerned about immuno suppression through training please read this article carefully, it is expansive and informative. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and there are some very strong ones in this area. IN particular the hypothesis that training hard/ at or above lactate threshold might supress the immune system day to day (which is something we all clearly want to avoid at this time) has long been touted as fact, but more modern research shows that may not be the case.
KIT TO USE AT HOME DURING LOCK DOWN
Lastly, from Eddie Sutton one of our lead coaches at Centurion Running. Some advice on kit to look at using during lock down
I wanted to take the opportunity to expand further on the situation regarding our race postponement, cancellation and explain the financial and logistical issues faced not just by us but by organisers in general.