Following the governments’ announcement on Saturday, all existing Tier 3 areas, which includes Central Bedfordshire and Bedford Borough, were moved up to Tier 4 effective Sunday 20 December. As I’m sure everyone appreciates the restrictions in Tier 4 amount to another lockdown. Yesterday Sport England also issued guidance on how sport and physical activity is impacted within Tier 4. In short:
Organised / coached outdoor running and indoor sport for over 18’s is not permitted
People can exercise outdoors or visit some public outdoor places, such as parks, the countryside, public gardens or outdoor sports facilities. They can continue to do unlimited exercise alone, or in a public outdoor place with their household, support bubble, or one other person.
Although outdoor sports facilities are allowed to open and can be used by individual households, bubbles or two people from different households our access to the track is controlled by SLL and as they are closed by the restrictions we have no access. The track is therefore closed and out of bounds to all members.
While there is an exemption regarding organised outdoor sport for under 18s, as we have no access to the track, and in the interests of protecting our coaches, run leaders, volunteers and all our members who are under 18 and their families from Covid we have decided that all activities of the club will cease while we are in Tier 4.
The government is due to review which Tier we are in on December 30. At such time that it is announced that we will be moved down to Tier 3 I will send a further update.
This is obviously awful news and it saddens the entire committee that we again have no choice but to effectively cease all club activities
On a more positive note, the committee wishes everyone a safe and happy (as possible) Christmas and new year.
Following Boris Johnson’s speech on Monday 23rd March, all club training activities and access to the track ceased. The past 5 months have been extremely hard and stressful for all of us and our families and it has been particularly sad that the wonderful community that is Biggleswade Athletics Club has effectively been shut down. COVID-19 has posed the committee, coaches and run leaders with huge challenges which really couldn’t be predicted. We have diligently worked through the implications of the ever changing guidance from England Athletics and the government, with everyone’s safety of our paramount concern.
And so, we are now absolutely delighted to announce the following:
From Tuesday 25th August, all members will have access to coached training sessions – here is the initial training timetable:
For the time being juniors will be given priority access to the track between 6:00pm and 7:30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Seniors will be able to access the track, under the supervision of their coach / run leader on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 5:00pm and 6:00pm and again after 7:30pm, and on Wednesdays between 6:00pm and 7:30pm (led by Giles Hawthorne).
In addition to the track sessions, from Tuesday 25th August coach / run leader led road running sessions for Seniors will recommence on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:00pm (led by Damien Pitts, Juliet Grimwood and Julian Brunt).
Coffee and cake runs on Sundays will also officially restart with immediate effect.
Due to the particular challenges associated with trying to enforce social distancing amongst young children, at this time we are unfortunately unable to recommence training sessions for the Little Bees. However, we will keep this under review as we attempt to normalise activities over the coming weeks, and aim to restart these sessions as soon as possible.
We would like to thank everyone for their continued patience during these unprecedented times and look forward to seeing you all again from next week!
You may remember that nearly 4 weeks ago, on 26th April, Biggleswade AC members donned their club vests and rose to the 2.6 Challenge, all in aid of the Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice at Moggerhanger.
Sue Ryder support people through the most difficult times of their lives. Whether that’s a terminal illness, the loss of a loved one or a neurological condition. Their doctors, nurses and carers give people the compassion and expert care they need to help them live the best life they possibly can.
And so, after some last minute donations, we are extremely proud to say that we have raised an astounding total of £2,000, a massive 2000% of our original fundraising target!!
We would like to, once again, thank all those who took part in the challenge and to those who donated, allowing us to make such a fantastic donation to a hugely worthwhile local charity
60 members of Biggleswade AC have, today, raised an amazing £1,631 (at the time of posting) for the Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice at Moggerhanger by taking part in the 2.6 Challenge to raise money for the charities who would have benefited from the many fundraising events that have since been postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
One of those events is the Sandy 10 road race, organised by the club, for which the St John’s Hospice receives the proceeds. The race, usually held early April, is now rescheduled for Sunday 13th September.
The London Marathon is a major event in many runners’ diaries and a number of Biggleswade AC members would either be running the 26.2 miles or cheering on their club mates and so, today, members donned their club vests and took to the roads, streets and trails close to their homes (even their own back gardens), to take part in the 2.6 Challenge to run, walk, cycle (even hobble) for 2.6 miles, 26.2 furlongs, 26 mins, a combination of 2.6 miles, or a 26 rep workout.
We would like to thank all those who wore their vests with pride today and took up the #BACTwoPointSixChallenge (you are all amazing), and to everyone who donated to our fundraising page. We are absolutely bowled over by the response.
Following the further restrictions on movement put in place by the UK Government last night, UKA and the Home Country Athletics Federations have made the following updates to the previous statement issued on 17 March:
Extending the suspension of all athletics activity in England to the 31 May. . This suspension includes all organised athletics activity in the UK, including all competitions, formal club activities, running groups, and all Education activity (coach, official, teacher).
Strengthening our position on coaching activity – We are now mandating that all physical coaching ceases, and only be conducted via virtual means during this period. Bringing groups of people together to train, however small, can no longer be permitted under the strict ‘Stay at home’ measures implemented by the UK Government.
The full statement can be found on the below link and we will advise of any further statement.
Due to the current situation with the Corona Virus England Athletics (please see below link) have advised that all face-to-face activity such as club training sessions, events, competitions, club committee and face-to-face meetings, athlete camps, running groups and social events should be suspended until at least the end of April. As a result the committee have had to suspend all activities/events involving Biggleswade AC and the track from today until the end of April at the earliest.
This is a highly unusual step but it is clear that in the current circumstances we have a responsibility to ensure that we do all we can to reduce the risk to all of our athletes, volunteers, members and parents. We will of course keep everyone updated in relation to both training and competition through the website and Facebook page. Any questions though please do not hesitate to get in touch with the committee.
Biggleswade AC are following guidelines set out by EA and UKA. Our priority is to ensure the health and safety of all of our members.Whilst there are currently no planned changes to any training sessions, we are aware of the announcements made today by the UK Government and continue to monitor the situation.
For more information, please follow the links below:
We regret to announce that the Sandy 10 and 3km fun run, scheduled for 5 April, have been postponed.
With the coronavirus pandemic causing widespread concern among the general public, and measures set to be tightened where gatherings of people in the UK are concerned, the last thing any of us want to do is feel we are putting our runners and volunteers at risk, or adding to anyone’s sense of unease.
One of the following options will be available to all entrants: • Deferment to the new race date (date TBC) • Withdrawal from the field and donation of entry fee to our charity, Sue Ryder St John’s OR • FULL refund for those unable to make the new date
We will be in touch very soon to begin these processes and you will have plenty of time to decide which option you’d prefer.
Our races pride themselves on being among the sporting highlights of the local calendar, and we don’t want our community to feel that a 600-strong field running in their streets is anything to be frightened of. Instead this course of action and the options above are our way of showing those around us that we put them first – we are certainly mindful of the financial pressures some families will face in the coming weeks and months.
The race committee is now exploring dates later in the year, using the rescheduled London Marathon on 4 October as a pointer. Each year many of our runners use the Sandy 10 as a key part of their training for London, and we would love to be a part of that once more.
Moving our events to later in the year does however raise many logistical headaches, not least slotting into an already packed athletics calendar. We will move quickly to re-book our suppliers, many of whom rely on races such as ours for their income – it is not lost on us that it is an extremely stressful time to be in the events business.
We will also liaise with our neighbouring clubs to try our utmost to ensure we do not clash with events of their own. It is not a straightforward task – please bear with us and we will update you once progress has been made.
This is an extraordinary situation for race organisers everywhere, but the health of our runners and volunteers, and by extension that of the wider public, comes way before the importance of our events. Still, we at the Sandy 10 are extremely sorry for any stress and inconvenience that these race postponements add during these difficult times.
Once we are able to, we fully intend to make it up to you.
14th March 2020 – Stratton Upper School, Biggleswade
Sportshall athletics is an introduction to athletics in a familiar indoor sportshall environment with a fun and lively atmosphere. Emphasis is put on team spirit and the running races are in teams of two or four. Often this event provides young athletes with their first competitive experience.
Many of today’s top GB international athletes started in sportshall athletics, such as Katarina Johnson-Thompson who has gone on to become a multi events athlete and world champion heptathlete. The young athletes at Biggleswade AC’s 20th Annual Sportshall Athletics Challenge could be on their way to international fame!
Biggleswade AC’s athletes (U9s, U11s and U13s) were up against local rival teams Bedford and County and Leighton Buzzard. With a mixture of running races – 4 x 1 laps, 4 x 2 laps, obstacle 4 x 1 lap (forward roll, speed bounce, high stepper, hurdles), Grand Prix; and field events – standing long jump, shot, vertical jump and a 20 second speed bounce; Biggleswade triumphed amassing a fantastic 84 points! Bedford and County came second with 51 points and Leighton Buzzard came in with a respectable 41 points.
The event finished off with a mass pursuit relay (similar to a cycle pursuit), with each team member running a lap of the sportshall. The teams start on opposite sides of the sportshall and have to catch the opposition. As you can imagine, this is a very noisy and exciting event with the teams all supporting and encouraging each of their athletes. Thankfully this ended in another victory for the Biggleswade team.
Congratulations to all those who took part and helped to make the event a success.
Biggleswade Athletic Club’s committee tonight says thank you to Damien Pitts, who – following Monday’s AGM – is stepping down as chairman and brings an end to over a decade on the club committee.
“Damo” has been a stalwart member of BAC since he was at primary school, aged 11. A talented athlete from a young age, with an easy, languid style many members can now spot from half a mile away, he would often insist on tugging the coat-tails of the seniors to join them for five-mile training runs around Biggleswade. His devotion to the sport and to his club was therefore ingrained from these formative years, and in adulthood he has carried that forward in volunteering his time in so much that the club organises and participates in.
He first joined the committee 13 years ago, under Nigel Bush’s chairmanship. Four years later he became both the men’s road running captain and road secretary.
The following year he took the helm for the ever-popular Schools’ Cross Country Relays. Two years on, he progressed to become Nigel’s right-hand man as vice-chairman, before making the leap from apprentice to master as he became chair himself in 2016.
In among all this, he has managed the club’s participation in the Round Norfolk Relay, been senior marshal of the Sandy 10, as well as coaching the senior road-running group (back when it was singular) on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He has organised – and assures members he will continue to organise – the much-loved Fairy Run, and although his handicapping for this festive fixture can leave something to be desired, he has been on steadier ground unpicking the age-graded results for club championship road races.
His organisation of the London Marathon support squad each year is of particular note, with his attention to detail such that BAC members have a table and a cooked breakfast in front of them seemingly microseconds before the queue for now nonexistent seats is out beyond the greasy spoon’s door.
His committee duties in recent years, particularly as chairman, have required him to park his coaching responsibilities, but he has always made it clear that he is extremely keen to get stuck in once more – members will we are sure be delighted to see him back rubbing his hands in glee pre-training before revealing what tortures await.
On a sour note, one female member requested we put on record how appalling he is as a dining companion, and warns any lady sharing a table with him to always check their handbags before leaving in case it has sprouted any cutlery. We are happy to do so. The Membership Secretary has sent her apologies for tonight’s AGM, but we understand has a tale to tell of having to go back to one particular establishment to return goods she had unwittingly stolen.
There are plenty more ways in which Mr Pitts has contributed to Biggleswade Athletic Club, and we are sure he will continue to do so as a rank-and-file member – Damo and volunteering appear inseparable. For now, we are enormously grateful for his efforts, his energy, his warmth and his empathy during a spell that was not always smooth sailing for the club, and which indeed has endured some incredibly sad days. Yet he leaves the committee with the club in a great place, and a membership blessed with international up-and-comers, reigning county champions, but – just as importantly – hard-workers, triers and improvers dead set on beating their best marks, whatever their level, and a vibrant crop of youngsters who we can only hope show a fraction of the long-term dedication to the club that he has.
Still only a ridiculously young thing, may his days ahead be filled with all the Lego, rally cars, Airfix models and ice cream money can buy. Many thanks Damo – your committee colleagues, and we are absolute sure the membership at large, salute you.
Huge thanks to Jules Mackay for contributing photos for this piece