Dear Pan Celtic Race Community,
You will no doubt have been following the news and keeping abreast of all of the events across the globe that have either been cancelled or postponed. We too have been following the news over the last few months and have been factoring in the various hurdles or obstacles that have presented themselves. Our aim has always been to deliver the Pan Celtic Race this year however, the rapid escalation and subsequent restrictions the pandemic have thrown up makes it near impossible to run the race in a safe and enjoyable manner. We have to remember that despite the aches, pains and occasional misgivings we all experience when riding long distances, we are doing it because we enjoy it. No matter how many control measures or changes we introduce, it could never be the magical adventure we want our Race Clan and Public to experience.
So that leaves us with the only option of postponing the race until the time is right to run it. In practical terms (and digesting the various news updates on the expected longevity of the shutdowns) it is looking like the best course of action would be to defer race start until July 2021. A long time we know, but one we feel is realistic and more importantly, safe.
All Clan Riders will have now received a detailed letter/email in their inbox. Please check that you have received it.
It’s important that you get an understanding of the rationale behind some of the decisions we have made. As organisers, we have a duty to all riders and families to make sure that every single stone is not left unturned in the pursuit of delivering a safe and approved event. A requirement of the Pan Celtic Race is that every rider has race specific travel insurance, so that if the worse were to happen, you would be adequately covered and cared for.
However, no travel insurance will cover you for the risks associated with a pandemic. If a Government advises its citizens against non-essential travel to a country and you have an injury or worse, then the policy is void. Sustained and long physical activity has the effect of lessening a person’s immune system. This has potentially serious ramifications for the ill or injured rider and would be a dereliction of the duty of care for the organiser if they still ran the event knowing these risks.
One of the key elements of our route planning is that we produce a turn-by-turn, fully recce’d Risk Assessment. This gives us and you peace of mind that the roads we send you down are appropriate, suitable and risk minimal. We pass the Risk Assessment and Safety Policy documentation on to every local authority, Police force and relevant stakeholders to give notice and address any concerns they may identify. Given the latest Government guidance on avoiding unnecessary travel to control the spread of the virus, the likelihood of any authority giving permission for 160 riders to ride through each of the counties would be very low.
Then there is the social responsibility. From a personal point of view, we would imagine you are less likely to contract or spread Covid19 whilst riding your bike along the route we have devised, than you would be in your local community. Riders would essentially be self-isolating on your bikes, with minimal contact with others. However, the Emergency Services are already under intensive pressure and demand and we need to look at what actions we all can do to help lessen any workload for them. Having 160 less riders on the road is 160 less opportunities for an accident to occur, when those resources are needed elsewhere.
Looking at how other countries are responding to this crisis; some have opted for a complete lockdown and people are having to stay at home to attempt to slow the spread of the disease. Spain and Italy have banned people from riding their bikes and it is likely just a matter of time before the UK will move to similar enforcement and require its citizens to comply.
Access to the UK will become near impossible as we move forward over the coming days, weeks and months. Borders are being closed, airlines cancelling up to 75% of their flights, travel restrictions and so all further compound the feasibility of our overseas riders making it over to the UK.
The decision to postpone is a really difficult one to call. We have been working on this year’s route, logistics and promotion for nearly 9 months. Everything is pretty much ready to go. Final route recce’s have been done. All accommodation, checkpoints, photographers, film maker, freebies (including socks!) etc are all finalised. Even the finishing party has been arranged. But as the Organisers, we have 160 people to be responsible for and their respective loved ones and employers to be mindful of.
All is not lost for 2020. You have shown your faith in us and you are now and forever part of the Pan Celtic Race Clan. This year will be a testing and complicated time in all our lives. We will look back and remember how we made the best of a tough situation and did our best not to let it get the better of us. We will keep you up-to-date on developments during the coming weeks and months. When the situation improves and we are assured by the World Health Organisation and Governments globally that it is safe again to get back to what we love – riding our bikes and forming great bonds of friendship in person, we will be in touch, hopefully with social rides later in the year.
Until then, please keep yourselves and loved ones safe. If you choose to and are allowed to ride your bike, do it cautiously and observe Government guidelines. We are all in this together and we will come through it together.
The race website will also be updated very soon reflecting the postponement status of the race.
We look forward to seeing riders at the race in July 2021 and hopefully in a social format before then.
Wishing you all well and lots of love,
Matt, Bec, Toby & Pete
The Pan Celtic Race Team
#we who self-isolate will have stories to tell
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