RRCA Recommendations for Runners, Walkers, and Running Club/Crew Members

April 7, 2020

RRCA recommends, in accordance with current Federal guidelines, to cancel or postpone all events/organized group training runs/group training programs if these activities occur between now and the end of April and beyond based on local and state government regulations.

With regulations and guidelines from governments and health experts regarding COVID-19 constantly evolving, so too are best practices and advice for runners and walkers. Always make sure to consult the latest information from the Coronavirus Federal Task Force (White House, CDC, FEMA at coronavirus.gov) as well as your state and county health agencies before exercising outside. The CDC has a listing of all State Health Departments, which is a quick and easy resource to help you find information for your community.

Advice and Public Health Overview

First and foremost, always draw on expert medical advice from the CDC and from your state and county’s public health agencies.

At this writing, the country is in a national state of emergency.  The “30-Days to Slow the Spread” guidelines from the White House have been extended to April 30.  Know your local mandates, which may provide for stricter limitations for a longer duration.  For example, at this writing, the Governor of Virginia (where RRCA is based) issued a statewide stay-at-home order on March 30 “to protect the health and safety of Virginians and mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19 until June 10, 2020.”

As physician and RRCA coaching course instructor Dr. Bobby Gessler says, “”It is extremely important to protect oneself and other people.  This needs to be a community effort with family, extended family, friends, and neighbors all doing their part.”

At this time, the RRCA recommends running alone, or only with those you reside with such as children, a significant other, or roommate.  If you run with a friend, do so only with one person that you have had regular contact with in recent weeks and respect the 6-8ft spacing recommendations.  Keep in mind, running alone also comes with its own set of safety concerns. Make sure to review the RRCA’s “General Running Safety Tips” before heading out on a workout on your own.

The RRCA has joined with over 1,000 organizations through the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) in support of the safe use of parks and open spaces during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The RRCA recommends some basic do’s and do not’s out on the run (assuming that you will also follow the overarching CDC guidelines): 

  • Don’t go out for a run or walk if you are feeling ill or have flu-like symptoms.
  • Do practice social distancing – ensure appropriate spacing between runners; the current recommendation is at least six to eight feet of separation.
  • Do respect community regulations if parks, tracks, and multi-use trails have been closed due to over-use during stay-at-home orders.
  • Do run single-file, not two abreast unless there is ample public space to do so.  Don’t force others off of a sidewalk or trail by hogging the space.
  • Do alter your route or time of day you run if you find it too crowded to ensure appropriate social distancing.
  • Don’t spit or “nose rocket” your nose in public – bring along tissues or a small towel or a good old-fashioned hanky if you need to get rid of some snot during your run/walk.
  • Carry your own fluids and avoid contact with public water fountains.
  • Do wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after using a port-a-john.  As NPRA reminds people, prepare for limited access to public restrooms or water fountains.
  • Don’t share towels, food, gels, or any other item if you run or walk with family or one close friend.
  • Do tactfully remind others you see out on your run to practice social distancing if you see groups of 3 or more not adequately distancing.
  • Do use sidewalks where available in your community.  Most communities have ordinances requiring the use of sidewalks by pedestrians when available. Do not create unsafe driving situations for emergency vehicles by running down the middle of a road. The last thing the medical community needs right now is to treat avoidable accidents and injuries.
  • Don’t post group selfies on social media after a run….you shouldn’t be running in a group right now.

While RRCA is asking that everyone to run alone for a period of time, keep in mind there are a lot of ways that groups can stay connected digitally to help maintain the important connection to community, to help motivate friends, and to help provide a healthy distraction from the news.  For example RRCA member club Eastern Shore Running Club has been sharing photo collages of members running solo as a means to stay connected virtually by respecting social distancing needs.

About the RRCA: The Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) is the oldest and largest national association of running organizations and runners dedicated to growing the sport since 1958. The RRCA champions the development of community-based running clubs and events that serve runners of all ages and abilities in pursuit of health and competition. The RRCA’s vision is to see organized running clubs and events established inevery community in the U.S. To learn more, visit: www.RRCA.org