Return to Running in Groups

Many runners love the social aspect of running. It may start with cross country in high school and continue with local Omaha running clubs such as the Omaha Running Club or GOATZ. COVID-19 has disrupted many group or club running events. As the city begins to re-open, the urge to meet up for a run and connect with friends and groups is growing.  If you have been thinking about how to do this as safely as possible, we wanted to provide a summary of recommendations from the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) and the Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA) for a safe return to running with others in a group.

Group Running Etiquette

  • Do not participate if you are feeling sick or ill, have a fever, or if you have been in contact with someone who has not recovered from COVID – 19.
  • Persons from high risk groups for COVID-19 complications (such as diabetic, obese, immunocompromised) should consult their physician before participating
  • Do not engage in traditional forms of physical contact (high fives, handshakes, hugs, partner stretching, etc.).
  • Do not engage in close group pictures such as selfies to maintain six-foot social distance guidelines.
  • Don’t spit in public.
  • Do not share personal items as you normally might, such as water, gels, towels, etc.
  • Carry personal hydration (bottles/packs) and use hydration stations or fountains for refill only.
  • If you may be in close contact due to a confined running space or for another reason, you should wear a face mask.
  • Maintain proper six-foot distancing while gathering and during the run itself.
  • Don’t forget to wash your hands when you get back.

Where to Run

  • Chose locations that offer large open spaces to spread out for social distancing pre- and post-run.
  • Do not block entryways, sidewalks, trails, or access to bathrooms and fountains – ensure others have adequate room to pass.
  • Choose routes that allow enough space for passing others.
  • Find locations that are not as popular to minimize additional crowding.

Group Size, Starts and Pacing

  • Always follow local, state, and federal guidelines in determining an acceptable size for your group.
  • If your group is larger than the recommendations (currently 25 person max), consider dividing the group based on pace with multiple starting locations.
  • Or if there is only one start location, stagger the start with the fastest groups going first.

Do you have any additional questions about running safely? Ask an Optimum Stride Running Therapist or call (402) 609-1750.

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