19 Oct 20 by James Elson

Wendover Woods 50/ 50km Additional Guidelines 2020

The 2020 Wendover Woods 50 and 50km are scheduled to take place over the period 13th-16th November 2020. Whilst continuing to monitor all possible information, our intention is to organise the races and to do so in the safest possible manner. We have looked extensively at every single aspect of each event and the plan below goes as far as possible to reduce risk of transmission as possible.

Before we discuss the covid-secure set up of each event, it is important to note that both the 50 mile and the 50km have now been split into several smaller races, spread across a number of days. That is because the Forestry Commission current national policy, is that events are limited to a maximum of 30 people. The start/ finish of this event is outside of Forestry Commission Land, however around 90% of the course crosses their property, as such we can have no more than that number in any one event.

The new schedule for this year is as follows:

  • Friday 13th November 0700 Start: Wendover Woods 50 mile - 30 people
  • Friday 13th November 2200 Start: Wendover Woods 50km - 30 people
  • Saturday 14th November 0700 Start: Wendover Woods 50 mile - 30 people
  • Saturday 14th November 2200 Start: Wendover Woods 50km - 30 people
  • Sunday 15th November 0700 Start: Wendover Woods 50 mile - 30 people
  • Monday 16th November 0700 Start: Wendover Woods 50 mile - 30 people

All runners entered into the 50 mile and 50km were offered a number of options during the week of 11th - 18th October. These included:

  • Selecting one of the new dates/ times 
  • Running the event virtually between the 9th and 29th November
  • Deferring to 2021 or 2022 at no cost
  • Cancelling their entry

As of Monday 19th October, we now have final entry lists for the above smaller events and a list of all of those who have chosen to defer. If you are a runner originally entered for 2020 and did not choose one of the above options in time, you can email us by clicking here. 

Covid - Secure

Ultimately the event can be conducted safely, within government guidelines, almost entirely outdoors and with social distancing possible at all stages. All staff and volunteers will be provided with full PPE. We have conducted a number of events since August 2020 and racing has returned safely and sustainably.

Things that can remain close to or the same as a ‘regular’ WW50/ WW50km:

  • Start and Finish
  • Medical support
  • Number of volunteers
  • Number of staff
  • Timing system
  • Course Marking
  • Course Sweeping
  • UK Athletics Permit
  • Full Race Insurance

We must accept that for the time being, racing in the traditional sense with a mass start and regular aid stations is not going to be possible - UKA permit guidelines dictate that mass starts are not permitted. But with the following adaptations to our regular event weekend, we can mitigate for the risks concerned, whilst delivering a great event with as much of the traditional framework maintained as possible. Long distance trail races are by their very nature, largely self supported endeavours travelled solo or in a pair at relatively slow speeds. Therefore many of the traditional ‘issues’ of mass participation or road events are completely removed.

Ultimately the safest way for a runner to take part in this event, is to arrive at the start line ready to run. To leave a drop bag at the distanced start/ finish area. To run the course with their full mandatory kit and a supply of water and race nutrition on their person, topping up from their drop bag every loop. To complete the course, collect their awards and to travel home.

But of course we are still able to cater for the runner who is alone and needs support from us as organisers.

The following articles are where the 2020 WW50/ 50km have additional or adapted protocols specifically to reduce the risk of transmission. All must be adhered to and should be looked at as an extension of the regular race rules. All of the usual race information applies, these items are in addition to that information:

Two overriding principals apply:

  • Social distancing along government guidelines is mandatory and entirely possible at every stage of event weekend. Runners, volunteers, crews, staff and pacers should all maintain social distancing at all times.
  • Gatherings of runners/ volunteers or any groups should be kept to a minimum.
  • Each race is limited to 29 starters


  • If any runner, volunteer or staff member has had any symptoms related to COVID-19 in the 14 days prior to race day then they must not attend the event.
  • Runners must not travel from an area in tier 3 on race day, to take part in the event. Any international runners must quarantine for the legally required period in the UK for the country they are travelling from, prior to attending the race. Runners are not permitted any crew or pacer at the event.
  • Spectators are asked not to attend the race anywhere on course, at any time.
  • Runners must ensure their medical details and postal address are up to date on the race director registration system.


  • Registration is open 30 minutes prior to each start time.
  • There will be no kit check prior to the start, runners must have all mandatory equipment on them at all times as per the normal race rules. Random kit checks will be carried out on course as usual by staff in full PPE.
  • No spectators or crew may attend the start. They must drop their runner and move immediately on from the area.
  • Bag drop: Queue for bag drop (finish and checkpoint drop bags) will be socially distanced and marshalled. Bags must be pre-labelled prior to arrival. Bags will be handled by volunteer or staff in PPE.
  • Toilets: Will be kept clean and sanitised
  • There will be no ‘in person’ Race Briefing, The briefing will be recorded via video and the link shared 72 hours prior to the start of all events.
  • Start: There will be a rolling start. Runners may start any time within the start window of 15 mins.
  • 50 mile start time is 0700-0715
  • 50km start time is 2200-2215
  • Runners may start whenever they wish within that 15 minute window, but faster runners are asked to please start earlier so that there is the greatest spread of runners on the course.
  • All runners will have their temperature checked at the start from a socially distanced volunteer or staff in full PPE/ face shield - via a temperature gun. Runners exhibiting temps above 37.8C will not be permitted to start. Runners should expect not to wait at the start for any reason, just to walk up, have their temperature taken and begin their race immediately. 
  • Runners can start with or run with other runners in the event, but only in groups up to 6 maximum and must maintain social distancing at all times. Marshals will ensure social distancing is maintained throughout the start area. Solo runners can begin within intervals of 20 seconds of one another. Pairs or Groups will need to leave 30 seconds after the previous runner/ runners. The trail is wide from the start with plenty of room for groups to pass one another and other trail users whilst maintaining social distance if overtaking.
  • Runners are asked please keep group sizes to a minimum out on the trail to make as much space as possible for other trail users. Social distancing must be in place at all times.


  • Gates and stiles: Runners should not touch any gate or stile with uncovered hands eg. wear gloves or cover hands with sleeves to use.
  • Markings: Will be laid out as normal.
  • Masks/ PPE: Any time the runner visits the check point, they must wear a mask. We will have disposable masks available at the entrance in case runners lose theirs.
  • Staff/ Volunteers are to wear PPE at all times when performing duties in or outdoors. 
  • Check Point etiquette: Each checkpoint will be split into two or three mini check points with access to liquid in up to six places to speed up the process. Arriving at the checkpoint, runners may just run past making sure their time is recorded by the timing beacon, or head into the tent. A staked funnel with social distancing imposed will be laid out for runners coming to use the aid. All runners must use sanitiser as they enter a checkpoint. If any of 3 mini checkpoints are empty, then a runner can come straight in. The checkpoints will be 3 tables set out length ways, with one volunteer managing each table. Runners will top up their bottles from the drinks provided and take any food that they need. One volunteer will marshal the entry process into the checkpoint/ sanitiser use and ensure no gathering in the check point area. Runners will take fluid and nutrition, then sanitise their hands again before moving out of the checkpoint on down the course.
  • Runners will serve themselves drinks, including refilling bottles and bladders. The normal three fluid options will be provided: Water, Tailwind and Coke/ Pepsi. All food will be served in single serve packets only (once again hands are to be sanitised on the way in and out of every check point). The minimum food provided at every check point will be (single serve packets/ items):
  • Cut Up banana
  • Satsumas
  • Sweets
  • Chocolate
  • Sausage Rolls
  • Mini Malt Loaf/ Cake Bars
  • Crisps
  • Mini Cheese/ Babybel
  • Gu Energy Gel Packets
  • Tailwind
  • Coke/ Pepsi
  • Water
  • Hot Drinks: Runners will be given packeted milk, tea bags, coffee and sugar with wooden stirrers to make their hot drink in the hot cup that they bring as part of their mandatory kit as usual.
  • There will be no hot food anywhere on course.
  • All of our sweepers will wear PPE/ gloves. Markings will be deposited at check points on arrival in bin bags and tied up.
  • Cut offs: Are as per normal - but are not fixed times during the rolling start. Any runner that misses a cut off will be informed at that check point or at worst, the following checkpoint if they are missed initially. Runners must stay within the relative cut offs for each check point. 
  • The medical team will operate a “Non” Standby at Aid Stations policy, but will attend when called in. Medics will be attending every incident in a minimum of Level 2 PPE (Gloves, Mask, Apron, Eye Protection) and reserve the right to pull anyone suspected of exhibiting Covid-19 Symptoms from the race with immediate effect. Where a runner, volunteer or crew exhibits COVID-19 Symptoms on race day, they are to be isolated from all other participants. They will then need to be returned to “Home” to self isolate and arrange a swab test. 
  • Logistics vehicles: There will be full provision of wipes and sanitiser and spray in each vehicle. 
  • General Public/ Other trail users: As always, runners should give way to other trail users and be especially courteous when passing walkers, bikers and riders. To make sure to maintain social distancing when passing any other user and particularly through pinch points on narrow trail or through gates and stiles to stand well back where appropriate and allow others to pass safely and at distance.


  • Runners will be asked to move immediately on from the finish line, unless medical attention is required.
  • Award collection: Awards will be laid out on tables for collection by each runner.
  • Provision of hand sanitizer will be available at all stages, the finish, the food and the drop bag collection areas.
  • Food and Drink will be in single serve packs: Hot drinks, hot water, basic single serve supplies.
  • Runners must take immediate onward transport via their own vehcile, with crew, family, friends or taxi to hotel/ home. 
  • No Changing or showers are available. Toilets are available and will be cleaned hourly. 


  • Any runner, crew or volunteer must contact us if they show any Covid-19 symptoms within 7 days of the race. 
  • If there is any reported transmission or risk of transmission post race then all parties with any possible risk will be contacted.