• COVID-19 Framework for TMR run operations (Provisional]

    Creating a covid-19 secure environment for tmr runners and volunteers

    Background

    This Mum Runs is a UK based organisation with a global vision of empowering all women to enjoy the life changing benefits of being active. At its core, TMR delivers free weekly runs, led by community volunteer teams, managed through local digital communities. Prior to closing all runs due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, a typical month would see 10,000 runners across 67 locations and a team of 600 volunteers.

     

    The COVID-19 Framework for re-opening TMR Runs has been developed with guidance from our partners at Sport England and TMRs COVID-19 Medical Officer - and is based on prevailing government guidelines. This framework is therefore provisional and subject to change based on any updates to guidance. 

    Rationale for re-opening of runs

    Research has shown that the gender gap for women in sport has widened during the COVID-19 pandemic. After the first six months of lockdown restrictions, only a quarter of women were regularly active. The gap to men, which had closed significantly before COVID-19 , peaked at 10 per cent early in the pandemic, but has since stabilised at around five per cent.

     

     

    Women have been found to be more anxious about going out to exercise, more adversely affected by caring responsibilities, comparatively worse off financially and more affected by the reduction in group activities.

     

     

    Despite the many challenges, TMR’s community has continued to grow throughout the 14 months of lockdown, both in scale and engagement levels, with 23 new communities starting since January 2021 and 89% reporting they feel deeply connected to the TMR digital communities.

     

     

    It is clear therefore that re-opening access to TMR weekly runs represents a significant opportunity to help women access physical activity; significantly improve the health and wellbeing of many women and re-establish an in-person connection, alongside our digital community offering. By keeping them closed we risk a continuing impact on women’s health from falling activity levels.

    TMR runs - operation and risk management

    In order to understand the risks associated with reopening TMR runs within communities where there remains an underlying level of COVID-19 infection, we have sought to understand three key issues:

    • Droplet transmission: Respiratory droplets carrying infectious pathogens can transmit infection when they travel directly from the respiratory tract of an infectious individual to susceptible mucosal surfaces of a recipient, generally over short distances. This can be in the form of expiration, sneezing, coughing or speaking.

    • Fomite transmission: A fomite is defined as an object that becomes contaminated with infected organisms and which subsequently transmits those organisms to another person. There are limited examples of potential fomites in a TMR context, limited to scanning in and out of runs. Risks for transmission here are minimal due to participants and volunteers only handling their own mobile devices.

    • Participant characteristics: COVID-19 has been shown to impact different groups of people in differing ways and as such it’s vital to understand who is likely to be in attendance at TMR runs.

    All TMR runs operate under a local risk assessment with safeguarding guidelines and follow a single operational plan - when operating under this framework all TMR runs will follow a single TMR COVID-19 risk assessment with the addition of any relevant local considerations such as route planning.

     

    TMR COVID-19 Officers

    At TMR runs operating under the COVID-19 Framework, the central communities team will act as COVID-19 Officer(s) for all run operations. Prior to opening and/or leading a run, all volunteer will be required to confirm that they have: 

    • Familiarised themselves with this framework and the local risk assessment and confirmed they have done so

    • Completed the COVID-19 volunteer training 

    • Discussed any concerns in relation to their local run operations with the TMR HQ team.

    Centrally, TMR has an appointed COVID-19 Medical Officer: Dr Seema Srivastava, who also works for North Bristol NHS Trust as Associate Medical Director.

     

    Dr Srivastava is working with us to understand the relevant pathology of the COVID-19 virus and how this relates to our management of risk

     

    Strengths of This Mum Runs’ operating model

    • Evidence suggests that outdoor environments are significantly less likely to contribute to the transmission of COVID-19 than indoor environments. Every TMR run takes place entirely in open space and do not use any closed environment whatsoever

    • Running is a non-contact activity that does not require prolonged face-to-face contact

    • TMR runs require no shared equipment and no physical infrastructure

    • All participants are required to register online and in advance of their attendance enabling contact tracing

    • Some runs take place in urban areas and city centres but routes are pre planned and will aim to avoid high footfall areas

    • Groups sizes can be altered and if necessary restricted, to meet current guidelines

    • All participants and volunteers provide an email address as part of their online registration process, and will be asked to confirm that they have no COVID-19 symptoms at time of booking and will not attend if they should develop COVID-19 symptoms prior to attending a TMR run. As a result in accordance with our privacy policy, we are able to accurately and quickly contact people in attendance on any given day in order to facilitate contacting tracing such as the UK's NHS Test and Trace programme if needed

     

    Run Delivery During COVID-19

    • When the COVID-19 Pandemic developed during the early part of 2020, we immediately closed all TMR runs events across the 67 locations in which we operate.

    • As we look towards reopening, and to enable us to keep things as simple as possible for volunteers and runners, we have defined five clear states of operation going forward:

    1. Runs open and operating as per pre-COVID-19

    2. Runs closed due to risk of COVID-19 infection being considered too high

    3. Pilot runs open and operating under our COVID-19 Framework

    4. All runs open but with restricted numbers and operating under our COVID-19 Framework

    5. All runs fully open and operating under our COVID-19 Framework

    The guidelines set out below represent our COVID-19 Framework, and apply to all TMR runs operating in communities where there is an underlying level of COVID-19 infection and/or where social distancing requirements are in place as set by public health bodies.

    Participant / Volunteer COIVID-19 Self Assessment and Contact Tracing

    • TMR has a runner and volunteer registration and tracking App for runners and volunteers to pre-register for runs, and for checking in and out of runs using participants own mobile devices

    • On registering, all participants and volunteers must complete a self-assessment for any COVID-19- symptoms and on registering for a run will be asked to confirm this. No-one should attend a TMR run if they, or someone they live with, has any of the following:

      • A high temperature (above 37.8°C), a new, continuous cough, a loss of, or change to, their sense of smell or taste.

    • This check should be done prior to attending each TMR run and will be asked each time a participant registers to attend a run. Should an individual have demonstrated any such symptoms, they must not participate or volunteer, and should follow relevant guidance.

    • Anyone who has already been instructed to self-isolate by a health care practitioner should continue to follow this advice and may not participate or volunteer.

    • Everyone should comply with public health restrictions and avoid high-risk behaviour outside the TMR setting to reduce the risk to fellow participants and other attendees.

    • In the event of the local lockdown of a particular area, relevant TMR runs will be closed with immediate effect and registered TMR runners from that area will be advised appropriately.

    • Following attendance of a run, participants will also receive a communication asking them to make us aware if they develop any COVID-19 symptoms within the next 14 days.

     

    Arriving at runs

     

    • Participants should be encouraged, where possible, to travel to TMR runs by foot, bike, or car if necessary, without breaking social distancing guidelines specific to their region.

    • Participants should be encouraged, where possible, to only attend their local runs and avoid unnecessary travel to non-local TMR runs.

     

    before a run

    • Local Run Angel volunteers should make themselves familiar with these operating guidelines

    • When Run Angel volunteers arrive they should follow social distancing guidelines, and all unnecessary contact should be avoided

    • All Run Angel volunteers and runners must at all times be symptom-free and sanitise or wash hands before arrival at the run.

    • Although PPE is not required to volunteer, or to run with TMR, we would recommend carrying a mask and hand sanitiser with you should they be required

    • Participants and Run Angel volunteers are required to socially distance before the start of a TMR run

    • Any areas used for pre-run gathering should maximise the available space for each participant and minimise the amount of time participants spend in proximity to each other. If necessary, new meeting points that allow this can be proposed

    • Short run briefings are critical to participant welfare and creating a welcoming atmosphere for women who may be attending for the first time. These should be socially distanced at all times

    • Pre-run briefings must be as brief as possible and should only contain information critical to the safety of participants and the smooth running of the run. Pre-run briefings must be kept to a maximum time of two minutes (example script below) and ideally, should be scripted in advance in order to keep to time.

    • All TMR runs are required to include a short warm-up walk prior to the start of a run. These are considered part of the run itself and participants should be asked to walk in a line, or in pairs side by side to minimise risk to both other runners and the general public

    • TMR runs do not provide qualified first aiders. Critical incidents should be dealt with in accordance with our critical incident reporting policy.

     

    Run management

    • Runs should start as swiftly as possible after the briefing to minimise the amount of time spent in close proximity to each other.

    • Participants must be asked to run in single file in crowded areas, or in pairs side by side elsewhere to minimise risk to both other runners and the general public

    • Checking registered runners in and out of runs is to be carried out by a Run Angel volunteer using the TMR mobile application - volunteers and runners will use their own mobile devices for this

    • We will encourage all participants to socially distance at the start of each run, and ask that where possible all participants should aim to remain 2m apart from each other at the start of the run, and avoid face to face contact

    • Participants are encouraged to run at their own pace in a supportive environment

    • During the run, participants should run with an aim of making use of all available space but minimising the amount of time in close proximity to each other or other members of the general public

    • Other users of the route should be given way to at all times

    • Participants should not hug or high five anyone else, nor should they spit

    • Photos may be taken as long as the group are maintaining a social distance from each other and that is clear from the photograph taken

     

    The end of a run

    • Finish points should be in as open an area as possible and risk assessed appropriately

    • All runners should be scanned to check out of the run using the TMR App on their own mobile devices only

    • All Run Angel volunteers and runners are required to maintain social distancing after the run has ended and avoid close contact or gathering together

    • All participants should be encouraged to complete short cool down stretches individually or at home

     

    Supporting communications from TMR HQ

     

    • All TMR registered runners and community members will be emailed directly with reopening guidelines once a reopening date is confirmed for their run, including a simple code of conduct infographic highlighting key aspects such as not attending if symptomatic, social distancing requirements, sanitising hands on arrival and departure (participants to provide their own hand sanitiser) and respecting other people’s personal space. All new registrants will also receive the same guidelines.

    • All TMR communications channels - including social media and local community groups - will include regular updates on TMRs COVID-19 Framework.

    • Communications will include an explanation that runs will initially re-open as pilots in selected areas, followed by re-opening runs more widely but with limited numbers initially to enable learning and feedback before wider reopening when appropriate

    • Whilst we have minimised the risk, runners should make their own decision as to whether they are comfortable returning.

     

    reviews and reflection

    • The TMR HQ (community and operations) team will continually review the COVID-19 Framework, will seek feedback from participants and volunteers and work with the TMR COVID-19 Medical Officer to stay up to date with current medical and government guidance.

     

    Track and trace

    • All runners and volunteers are asked to provide email addresses as part of their online registration process, and as a result in accordance with our privacy policy, we are able to accurately and quickly contact people in attendance in order to facilitate contacting tracing - such as by the UK's NHS Test and Trace programme if required by public health bodies . TMR HQ will manage this process, not local run teams.

    Enhanced Volunteer support

    • Returning in locations where there is an underlying level of infection will no doubt raise a number of questions from within and outside of the TMR community. We will therefore continue to actively consult with our Run Angel volunteers and our community to understand their views, and provide additional training and support to volunteers such that they are able to carry out their roles without undue pressure and anxiety

    • Any COVID-19 related communication through info@thismumruns.co.uk will be fast tracked

    • Local community teams will receive regular communications around the practicality of these guidelines and application of them at a local level

    • All TMR volunteers, including our Run Angel volunteers are covered under our public liability insurance policy as long as they follow these guidelines to the best of their ability.

     

    example Pre run briefing script

    • This briefing should be delivered briefly in a maximum of 2 to 3 minutes to avoid the group standing together for too long.

    • We should all aim to create as much space between all runners at all times, including when looping. Runners should all encourage and support each other to do this so that we are all safe.

    • The run will be at the usual TMR chatty pace, if you feel you would like to run faster, then we ask that you loop wide and far and the Angel will stay with the runners at a chatty pace.

    • We should try to create a distance of 2 metres from any member of the public we may run past

    • We will do this by calmly saying 'Space' if we see members of the public and slowly and calmly create space for them or stop and go back if we need to. This is important as we don’t want to create any issues for us or any member of the public, and we do not want to feel flustered as a group.

    • Try not to touch faces, hair, other people or lampposts and buttons

    • Please do not share drinks, gels or food

    • If we need to press a button to cross the road, please use your elbow, or ensure you hand sanitise or wash your hands as soon as you are able

    • Try to avoid face to face contact to avoid transmission, try to run and warm up side by side instead

    • We are so delighted to be back, we have missed this so much

    • Have fun and enjoy being back running with friends!