We, at Front Runner Events, hope that you have all been keeping yourselves safe, well and healthy as possible over the past 12 months. We know how difficult things have been, like you, we have been affected and we share your frustrations that events are not taking place at the moment. With this in mind, we wanted to update you on where we are and what we have been doing as well as our intentions for this year.
Our team has been working extremely hard over the past few months as we continue to try and navigate our way through the news, changes, governmental and industry updates. In addition to this, we are trying to understand the impact of the vaccine rollout and what the current reduction in the ‘R’ rate and number of cases, hospitalisations, will mean for the return of our sport. Over the past 12 months, we have worked tirelessly and continuously with MSO Cymru colleagues, Welsh Athletics, Swansea Council and Welsh Government to try and establish a return to doing what we love, which is, putting on safe road running events for everyone to enjoy.
The horizon is beginning to look much brighter. The roll out of the vaccine programme appearing to be at such a pace, that this is one metric alone that could suggest a return to normality shouldn’t be too far away. Also, the planned return of Parkrun (we know this is for England at the moment), the test event programme that is earmarked for England and with Wales about to produce theirs, to demonstrate that Covid-safe events can be held and run safely.
For those of you that are unfamiliar with the rules and guidance for the management of Covid-19 in Wales (which is different from the updates provided by the Prime Minister for England) the Welsh Government undertakes a 3-weekly review of the situation, the last was held on Friday 12th March 2021.
The 3 weeks between each review is very challenging for us in terms of how we plan for our events. We are not a shop or bar, that can buy in stock and be ready within days, typically we need around 6-9 months to prepare for an event to allow for the stakeholder engagement, permissions process, dealing with emergency services, engaging suppliers and so on. Therefore, to allow us to even begin trying to mobilise for an event in normal circumstances, 3 weeks would prove very challenging to say the least. As such, we are faced with a dilemma for this year’s JCP Swansea Half Marathon.
Given what we know today, the likelihood of obtaining permissions from the relevant authorities for the scheduled June date would be unlikely. Therefore, we feel to give ourselves the best chance to deliver the JCP Swansea Half this year, we have to move the date once again to Oct 17, 2021. This gives us time to work with all peer groups, stakeholders, and Welsh Government to understand the impact and learnings from the test event process. This alone, we hope, should provide enough information to enable the event to proceed.
In addition to this, the Welsh Government target of all adults being offered the vaccine by July 31, 2021, should have been achieved. And we are confident that with the above key metrics achieved, a continued reduction and decline in cases and hospitalisations, we should be able put on the event in the usual way we do.
Meaning that we can give you the Swansea Half experience you deserve. We are literally chomping at the bit and raring to go, but it seems that, in the words of Axl Rose/Guns N Roses, we need a little patience…. Just a little more, we hope. Whilst there are a lot of factors and influences that remain beyond our control, we feel significantly more optimistic and have commenced a full team effort towards achieving this date.
At no point in our existence, did we expect to be faced with such a situation as the one we are still going through. We have missed you all from our start line and more importantly, we have missed seeing you cross our finish line. But we do feel the finish line is getting nearer and we are getting there, the horizon is definitely looking brighter and a lot more optimistic.
So, we thank you for your patience and we cannot wait to see you all lining up again outside the historic Brangwyn Hall as you get ready to #RunSwansea!
Yours in sport