COVID-19 (coronavirus) CURRENT STATUS
– from Peter Tiffin, Race Director:
Firstly, many thanks for all the lovely comments and expressions of support after the last update (see below). It was really appreciated and made me quite emotional at times! Thank You.
However, I regret to announce that I have decided, with a heavy heart, to cancel both Guernsey Ultra 2020 events. This is primarily because of the current pandemic situation and how this will affect health services (see previous update below) and travel over the coming months and to avoid uncertainty for runners over dates.
It seems unlikely that the current situation will affect events in 2021 so this will, at least, provide certainty over training, travel and accommodation for all participants, whereas a postponement may not if we get a second peak approaching the winter months.
As you know from the previous update, I had intended 2020 to be my last year as Race Director for Guernsey Ultra but, given these circumstances, I will make 2021 my last year. I hope you will join with me in making it a year to remember for the Guernsey Ultra races!
I am truly sorry to have to do this and I feel your disappointment, especially those of you who were hoping (and training!) to complete their first ultra with us this year. I also hope that the RaceCheck runners will continue to make this their race of the year and many of you will be with us in 2021.
The 2020 GU36 will be cancelled and all entries and deferrals (including the waiting list) moved to the new race date, Sunday 16th May 2021. This will obviously increase the field and we will be therefore be accepting up to 200 entries to allow as many as we can practically accommodate. We will be seeking extra resources to ensure the race experience is not diminished by this. The new organisers will be introduced at the race briefing and will be familiar faces during the event.
One of the effects of the increased numbers is possible congestion in the first few miles of the cliff section. The first mile through town should spread the field somewhat.
Deferrals and withdrawals: We recognise that you may already have other plans for next year and therefore be unable to make the new race date so deferrals to 2022 will be allowed. Please consider the effect on the new organisers of many deferrals though.
Those who wish to withdraw will be able to receive a 75% refund (as stated at sign-up). Please bear in mind the effect on the race that a large number of refunds will have. I am mindful of the fact that many will be adversely affected financially by the effects of the pandemic: if this is you, please do ask for a refund. If you cannot make the date but do not wish to receive a refund, we would be very grateful but please still let us know because there will still be hopeful people on the waiting list.
You can contact us via email, on Facebook messenger via the Guernsey Ultra page or on Twitter via DM. We may have many changes to process though so apologies if we take a while to respond.
The 2020 Gun31 will also be cancelled and all entries moved to the new race date, Saturday 20th November 2021. Due to the nature of this race, the field will not be increased above 50 places. As with the GU36, deferrals and withdrawals (with a 75% refund) will be allowed.
I hope that the steps up to Clarence Battery (start/finish) will be repaired by this date otherwise the start venue will need to be moved as the lack of access would make this unsuitable.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/GuernseyUltra/ You can message from here.
GU36 Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/827589914042994/
Gun31 Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/166206040902340/
Clearly, some of you have already been affected by the Flyby collapse and may have already made other arrangements. Aurigny have eased their policy concerning cancellations and rebooking but only up to 19th April so far. It is likely that, if the Guernsey authorities continue the mandatory ban on non-essential travel, this will be extended so you may opt to wait so that you can re-book or cancel without penalty. We cannot guarantee that this will happen though.
Those booked on Condor Ferries are advised to contact them directly as it looks as though they are only offering a rebooking voucher for March at the moment.
from Peter Tiffin, Guernsey Ultra Race Director: I have some news to share which may help explain why we are having difficulty announcing firm plans for the GU36.
Earlier this year, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Initially it appeared that the treatment for this would be largely completed before May and would therefore not affect the GU36 or Gun31. Subsequent investigations (scans etc.) have resulted in changes to the treatment plan which still would have meant the races would not be affected.
However, we now have the current situation with COVID-19. Yesterday (16th March) the Guernsey authorities announced that all but essential travel in or out of the island must cease with immediate effect. This is until further notice but without a clear end date. It is also likely that people arriving from the UK will soon be required to self-isolate for 14 days. It is therefore clear that the GU36 cannot go ahead in May.
One of my treatments (radiotherapy) requires travel to (and a 6 week stay in) Southampton and would compromise my immune system during and after treatment. With the COVID-19 restrictions, combined with the anticipated pressure on NHS services, it is extremely unlikely that this will be taking place before September/October at the earliest. This means that I would not be in a position to run a postponed GU36 and may also jeopardise the Gun31. It may be that I will need to cancel, rather than postpone having already incurred substantial non-recoverable costs for 2020.
I have a meeting scheduled with the oncologist on Thursday and will be discussing the realistic scheduling options for the radiotherapy so will not be making a decision either way until then.
I had taken the decision early this year that 2020 would be my last year running Guernsey Ultra and had made early arrangements with the folks who would be taking this over from me in 2021. With the virus affecting the races now though, regardless of the decision taken, I will now continue with Guernsey Ultra in 2021 with a view to passing on the events in a healthy state from both a financial and organisational point of view. I am not willing to hand the events over early as this would be unfair to the new organisers, having to cope with the disruption and the financial implications.
I would advise you delay re-arranging flights at this time as Aurigny have introduced relaxed measures for this but only up to 19th April at this stage.
So the TLDR version is: GU36 will not go ahead in May. Expect a further announcement on Thursday.
2020-03-13: An updates on events is expected from Guernsey authorities on Monday 16th.
2020-03-13: As of yesterday, the Director of Public Health Guernsey is advising all Guernsey residents to consider avoiding all non-essential travel to and from the Bailiwick. However, this only appears to be the advice for 4 weeks into the future. Aurigny have stated that flights booked up to 9th April may be moved. No restrictions on events have been announced but advice is due today or tomorrow. We will therefore continue to monitor the situation.
2020-03-12: there are no restrictions in place that would mean a change of plan for the GU36 on the 17th May.
As this is a rapidly developing situation so we are monitoring events closely. If we are advised by the authorities that the event cannot go ahead as planned, or if there are travel restrictions put in place that would affect people getting to Guernsey, it is likely that we would postpone rather than cancel the event.
At the moment we feel the most likely date in the event that we are forced to postpone would be Sunday 18th October. We will be posting updates on the Guernsey Ultra Facebook page, the GU36 Facebook Group and on Twitter if the situation changes.