Lockdown rules have changed in England. But what does that mean for runners?
We were all glued to our TV screens last night, wondering what the latest announcement from the PM was going to be, and how that was going to affect our lives. And the result, as was to be expected, is… not much. Lockdown has been given a little bit of flex, but we need to be careful – as ever – to not take matters into our own hands, and start trying to read between the lines.
But for those of us that like to exercise outside, there was some good news. From Wednesday this week, we are able to take unlimited exercise. We can leave the house more than once, and for longer periods of time: to run as long as we like.
We’re due to get more information about just how this is going to look tonight and tomorrow, when a document will be published answering some of the questions raised by the PM’s statement. But in terms of running, we would expect the emphasis to still be on solo exercise, or exercise within family groups.
However, with more flexibility in meeting – socially distanced – members of our extended families, this could give us the opportunity to add variety to our running. We can run to friends’ houses for a chat and a (two metres apart) cuppa without fear of being chastised for staying too long. We can run as families to see uncles, aunts and cousins, even if it’s just to wave hello. It slowly opens up the possibility of a little more social interaction, and a little more joy, as well as the opportunity for a happier destination on each run. We don’t just have to run round the same old block any more!
However, do please bear in mind that there is still no change for the many of us who are classified as being more vulnerable to the disease, or for those of us outside of England. People in these groups needs to heed the advice they were previously given and stay indoors.
So if we know vulnerable people who are feeling cut off and who live a few miles away, now is the time to include a stop-and-chat with them as part of your running. Because if we can now leave the house whenever we like to exercise, and you’re not already doing so, let’s make one of our excursions to support our community. We’re all in this together.