Runners take part in 5Ks as part of Government trial

Jacob Moreton
·2-min read
Photo credit: Thomas Lovelock for London Marathon Events
Photo credit: Thomas Lovelock for London Marathon Events

The London Marathon Reunion 5K took place on Saturday, May 15, at Kempton Park in Surrey as one of the pilot events in the government’s Events Research Programme (ERP).

The event consisted of two 5K races. Race A was held with social distancing measures, with runners setting off in socially distanced pairs every three seconds; Race B had a mass start and there were no social distancing rules in place.

As one of the pilot events in the government’s Events Research Programme (ERP), it is hoped the event will provide crucial scientific data for the Departure of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on how mass-participation events can resume safely from June 21.

All runners and spectators had to take a Covid-19 PCR test on the day of the event and will be asked to take another test as part of the data collection.

The first runner to finish in Race A, the socially distanced event, was Ollie Garrod from Surbiton, who crossed the line in 15 minutes and 18 seconds – the fastest time of both races.

After the race, Garrod said: 'That was brilliant. It was really well organised, we all felt safe and it’s so good to be back running together. I’ve got a place in the London Marathon in October and this is a massive step towards that.'

Photo credit: Thomas Lovelock for London Marathon Events
Photo credit: Thomas Lovelock for London Marathon Events

Hugh Brasher, event director for London Marathon Events, who took part in the second race, said: ‘What an amazing day. It was incredible to be back on the start line, shoulder to shoulder with fellow runners, for the first time for 15 months. This is such a significant step towards the return of mass-participation events across the UK – from parkrun to the London Marathon. We all need the joy and inspiration of running together again – it’s so important for the mental and physical health of the nation.’

The ERP ’s first phase of pilot events began in April and will continue through May; the collected data will help to inform government decisions around the safe easing of restrictions as part of Step 4 of the ‘roadmap’ plan for exiting lockdown. An industry-led steering group, in partnership with public health authorities, will use the evidence from these events to make recommendations to the government about the next step for mass-participation events.

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