Andrew Taylor, event director of the Bath Half, speaks about the future of the event
Bath Life held a Zoom webinar this morning with the managers of local events, including Andrew Taylor, the event director of Bath Half. The Bath Half marathon went ahead as planned on March 15th just before lockdown, to a mixed response. Women’s Running ran the half, and its reduced numbers and the concern among participants (and those who decided not to run it) was palpable.
Andrew spoke candidly to Bath Life this morning about the future of events, something that runners are desperate to know the outcome of.
What is the future for the Bath Half? Will it be business as usual in 2021?
“We don’t know whether any of the autumn events will go ahead. There is a consultation going on at the moment to decide what sort of rules and regulations are appropriate. If we work with [the] 2 metre rules, we’d be looking at a single-lap course, a time trial rather than a race, people going off in waves, and significantly reduced capacity. We’d be down to 25 or 30% capacity. We really don’t know where the science is going to lead us to. It’s very frustrating for everybody; it’s completely unprecedented.”
What about timings?
“We will allow for postponing later into the spring or into the autumn. But it’s too difficult to say.”
What are the benefits for holding mass participation events like these?
“The public health benefits from events like ours are huge. Events like ours cost the NHS and the Government nothing, but we inspire people to participate across all age groups and fitness levels. I’ve been very heartened about the number of people engaging with running and cycling [during lockdown] and it would be great if we could harness that. We need events like ours to do that. And the charities need us. We’ve delivered £2 million a year to charities, and without that local charities such as Dorothy House [a Bath-based hospice charity] will suffer. Our local charities need that support.”
Women’s Running will be talking to Andrew again in the next few weeks to find out more about the backlash to the Bath Half this year, the impact for events companies like his, and the shape of future events to come.
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