"What an amazing day": The Reunion 5K marks a return to mass participation sporting events - Women's Running

“What an amazing day”: The Reunion 5K marks a return to mass participation sporting events

Author: Holly Taylor

Read Time:   |  May 17, 2021

Runners take on the Reunion 5K as data is collected for a return to racing...

Runners flocked to the start line of the Reunion 5K over the weekend, in a government-approved event designed to test the viability of mass participation events returning after lockdown.

The Reunion 5K, organised by London Marathon Events as part of the UK government’s Events Research Programme, consisted of two different races. Race A was held with social distancing measures in place, with runners setting off in socially distanced pairs every three seconds, while Race B was a mass start with no social distancing rules in place at all.

All runners and spectators were required to take a COVID-19 PCR test on the day of the race and will be taking another test on Thursday to collect more data. All those entering the venue had to provide evidence of a negative lateral flow test.

Hugh Brasher, Event Director for London Marathon Events, who took part in the second non-socially distanced 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.”

Ollie Garrod from Surbiton, who crossed the line first in Race A with a time of 15 minutes and 18 seconds, 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.”

The event was supported by MSO (Mass Participation Sports Organisers), consisting of some of the country’s best-known race organisers including parkrun and Great Run.

The results of the trial event will be used to determine how best to return to our favourite sporting events, providing the first glimmers of hope for those of us who are keen to race again soon.

Written by

Holly Taylor

Holly Taylor

Holly Taylor is the digital editor of Women’s Running and co-host of the Women’s Running podcast, where she shares her running journey as well as the inspiring stories of women runners all over the country. She’s never been the sporty type, but running is the first time she’s felt real joy in getting active. She loves talking about running with a community of inclusive and supportive runners, and Women's Running is the perfect space for this. She's currently aiming for a half marathon PB!

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