23rd October 2020
To all of our Race Partners,
We hope that you and your family have kept well during the past 6 months since the Covid-19 pandemic took hold. When we cancelled our race in March, we never imagined what the immediate next few days and weeks would bring and it has shown our decision to be the right one.
Thank you once again for supporting the Fleet Half Marathon and being one of our Race Partners. Unfortunately, we now find ourselves in times when the Covid-19 figures are increasing again and the government continues to tighten restrictions and mass gatherings. As a voluntary organisation, we have sadly now had to make the decision to cancel the 2021 event.
You may be asking why we are making this decision now 5/6 months before race day and we hope to outline some of the reasons why:
- We cannot start planning the race without considerable upfront expenses – this is not viable when there is no guarantee we could host the event in March next year. In a normal year we would have started full planning 3 months ago but have held off committing to further expense when we have already incurred losses from the 2020 event cancellation.
- The current requirements to comply with the UKA Race Licence involve strict social distancing rules, including small rolling starts. Our entry numbers of 3000+, the restricted area to get in and out of the park, the numbers crossing the finish line at the same time and the route we use, including the need to get roads re-opened very quickly, would not allow us to meet the required measures.
- For the licence we need to have local authority backing which we certainly wouldn’t get currently.
- We have an obligation for the health and safety of all of our runners, our volunteers, our partners and our local community and we take this very seriously.
- Mass events are currently not permitted by law.
- Pushing the race back to later in 2021 would impact on other local races which are already established in the autumn as well as our own 10K race which we hope to be able host again in October 2021. Our 10km event was also cancelled in 2020.
This decision has not been taken lightly however we feel that, given the ongoing situation and recent tightening of restrictions we cannot commit to the race with so much uncertainty, further financial risk and the potential for future disruption to mass gatherings of this type. I am sure you appreciate the constantly changing situation being faced by us and many other events.
An email will be sent this afternoon to our 2020 event runners who opted to defer to 2021 detailing their three options – 1) the opportunity to run a Virtual Half Marathon to claim their medal, 2) the ability to donate their entry fee to help support future events or 3) a partial refund – a full refund is not possible. Unfortunately, there has been some costs that we cannot recover and while we are dipping into the club’s reserves to offer this partial refund, we are unable to offer a full refund. We are not required to give a refund under our T&Cs of entry but we are trying to support our runners too in these difficult times.
We would appreciate that you do not share this message as we want to ensure all of our runners have received their emails first.
We very much hope that by the time we need to start planning the 2022 event, that things will be more predictable and the well awaited vaccine is available. We would hope that at this time we can pick up our partnerships once again and look forward to the return of the Fleet Half Marathon.
Thank you once again for your understanding. The current pandemic is a very frustrating time for everyone and I hope that all our partner businesses and organisations can survive the difficult times and all work together again for our next event.
In the meantime – keep safe and keep well until the day we will all be able to “Run around Fleet” again.
Race Director – Fleet Half Marathon
Fleet & Crookham AC
(The Fleet Half Marathon is organised by Fleet and Crookham Athletic Club, a charity that seeks to promote and support activity, running and athletics for all ages within the local community. The team comprises entirely of volunteers and each year the race raises thousands of pounds for local and national charities)