Club reopening FAQs

Posted 15th July 2020

[Updated 19 March 2021]

We understand you may have lots of questions around returning to clubs. We have put together a list of frequently asked questions below, which we hope will help you.

Physical fitness and mental health concerns:

  • My fitness has deteriorated during lockdown – can I still come to club?

Absolutely! Everyone is welcome at Fitmums and Friends, no matter your fitness level. Our leaders and groups are super supportive and our systems allow everyone to run or walk at their own pace while staying together. We also expect that many people will find themselves in the same situation so you will not be alone.

  • Could I join a walking group rather than running to start with?

Some clubs will be offering a walking group when they restart and you are very welcome to join that even if you only ever ran with us before.

  • I’m worried about keeping up with people – how will you make sure that I’m not left behind?

At Fitmums & Friends, no one is ever left behind. Our unique support systems mean that members can go at their own pace and the group can stay together. We will continue to shepherd when there is enough space to do so and maintain at least 2m social distance between everyone. Otherwise, those at the front will enable the group to come back together by circling where there is space.

  • Do I have to return to the mileage group that I was running in before lockdown?

Not at all. You are free to choose whatever distance you want to run each week. It’s absolutely fine (and very sensible!) to start with a lower mileage and increase the distance as you build up your fitness and your confidence. Some clubs will be offering a walking group which members can join so that they can build up to running again. Or you can restart in the 1 mile running group, where walk/run intervals will be fine, and work up from there.

  • Can you match runners by pace so that those of us who are slower do not feel compelled to keep up with faster runners?

Our unique support systems mean that runners of different paces can run in the same group, because the faster runners will always come back to or wait for the others. Depending on leader availability and member need, some clubs may be able to group runners by pace; and the group leader may also organise the group by pace to better enable social distancing.

  • Could we have a tail runner/walker in a group, especially on routes where shepherding will be difficult?

At Fitmums and Friends, no one is ever left behind. Our leaders use our support systems to make sure that the group stays together. They will ask the group to shepherd when there is enough space to do so and social distance; otherwise, they will ask those at the front to circle where there is space to enable the group to come back together. Your leader may also run at the back of the group to support those who need it most.

  • I have lost all my confidence – about running and about socialising. Can you help?

Yes. If you are nervous or worried about coming back to club, we would love to help you.

All our sessions are inclusive and supportive and are led by trained volunteer leaders who support you every step of the way. Also, most of our clubs now have a Mental Health Champion who can help you return to exercising with the group.

If you would like to connect with someone before coming back to club, we can arrange a chat - on the phone or via Zoom - with one of our volunteers to put you at ease before you attend a session. Or we can put you in touch with one of our In the Pink volunteers who will talk you through how we can support you and attend three Fitmums and Friends sessions with you. You only need to get in touch with us: call 07988 670030 or email

  • I’m visually-impaired – will I be able to run with a guide runner?

England Athletics, our governing body, has updated its guidance to allow guide running to take place with the following mitigations: 

  • Both guide and runner should understand the risk associated with taking part in the activity
  • Activity should take place outdoors
  • Side by side running should be the preferred option
  • Contact details should be held by both parties to ensure that track and trace can be followed if needed
  • Ideally the same pairing should be maintained

  • How will you recreate that supportive Fitmums spirit?

The supportive atmosphere in clubs comes from our fabulous volunteers and wonderful members. Over the last year, through your social media networking, you have shown that you don’t even need to be meeting together to support each other! We are so proud of this and of you, and have absolutely no doubt that you will be able to create that ‘Fitmums feeling’ again once clubs reopen.

Session set up:

  • Will clubs be using a booking system? 

Yes, clubs will be using a booking system, at least in the short term, in order to manage numbers attending sessions and comply with guidance. When your club reopens, you will receive a full explanation of when and how to book onto a club session – that said, we will be keeping the booking system as simple as possible. In order that the booking system is fair and doesn’t exclude people, anyone who doesn’t get a place one week will be given priority to book into the following week’s session.

  • How many distances will be available? And will there be more than one group for a distance?

Clubs will do their very best to put on a range of options that meet members’ needs. However, how many groups and how many distances a club can offer may be limited, due to venue or leader availability, or route safety. Not all of our routes will be safe to run right now and not all of our leaders are able to return immediately, and they are under no pressure to do so. Please note that we may need to cancel a distance group or option at short notice due to circumstances beyond our control.

  • If distances / start times / start points change each week, how will you make sure we all know about it?

We recognise that some of the arrangements and measures we need to put in place may be more complicated and confusing than we are used to. Your clubs understand how important it will be to communicate with you regularly and clearly so that you know where, when and how to attend a club session. They will use email and social media – please make sure your contact details are up-to-date and to check your accounts regularly.

  • Will there be toilet facilities?

All clubs will be meeting outside initially and will not have access to indoor facilities. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that we will have access to toilets, at least to start with. As guidance changes, we may be able to reinstate access to toilet facilities.

  • How will you stop large groups congregating at the start of a session? 

It is important that we avoid large groups congregating before and after club sessions, both to comply with guidance and to keep our members safe. We are putting in place various measures to achieve this, such as staggered start times or different start points. When your club reopens, you will receive an email explaining how your club will manage its numbers and exactly what to do on arrival. 

  • What will happen if I arrive late? 

Please arrive on time for your group. If you are late, we will not be able to accommodate you in another group while national guidelines restrict how many people can run together.

  • Can I visit Fitmums & Friends clubs other than my home club to run/walk/cycle?

For the time being, we are asking members to attend their home club only. We will let you know when we are reopening clubs to Fitmums ‘tourism’.

Social distancing and COVID-19 concerns:

  • How will you make sure that we can social distance during club sessions? 

We want to keep our members as safe as possible when returning to club. We are implementing a number of measures to enable social distancing during sessions:

• clubs will be using a booking system to ensure groups sizes comply with guidance and are small enough to enable social distancing

• members will be expected to social distance at all times: on arrival, during the checklist chat, during the warm up, while walking/running/cycling, and while stretching; if necessary, leaders will remind members to social distance

• clubs will be meeting outside; distance groups will be meeting at different times or in different places

• clubs will be using routes which are less used by local people and routes with more space so that we can social distance from each other and anyone we encounter

• shepherding will only be used where there is enough space to do so while maintaining 2m between all members; where this is not possible, we will use different support systems to keep the group together

• it will be the responsibility of Fitmums and Friends members to move out of the way of oncoming pedestrians; we will slow down, walk or stop while they pass, making sure to give them at least 2m of space

  • Whose responsibility will it be to ensure that members social distance?

It will be everybody’s responsibility to ensure that they maintain a social distance of 2m from others at all times. If a leader, or another member, needs to remind you about maintaining social distancing, please do not be upset by this – it is intended to protect you and your fellow members. Please also be kind and respect each other’s choices and feelings about the pandemic and the risks each is willing to take.

  • What will you do if a member persistently doesn’t social distance or follow other guidelines?

We want all of our members to feel safe during club sessions. That will require everyone to be respectful of each other and to follow all the guidelines. To ensure that these are clear and understood, members will be asked to agree to a COVID-19 Code of Conduct before attending a club session. Any persistent misconduct will need to be dealt with according to our grievance and disciplinary policy. 

  • Are you following any guidance when reopening clubs?

Yes, we follow the guidance provided by our governing body, England Athletics. You can find this here.

  • What will happen if someone who attends a session subsequently tests positive for COVID-19?

If someone attending a Fitmums and Friends session subsequently tests positive for COVID-19, we may be required to pass details of group members to the NHS Test and Trace service.

  • I’ve been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 – when can I come back to club?

If you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, please follow the NHS advice here. Please DO NOT attend any club sessions until the end of your self-isolation period, even if you have no symptoms or test negative yourself. Guidance on how long to self-isolate can be found here. For what 'contact' means, please see the government advice here.

  • I have been to a club session and since tested positive for COVID-19 – do I need to tell my club?

If you have attended a club session and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19, please follow the NHS advice here. You will also need to complete the UK Athletics COVID-19 tracking form - please email Vickie on and she will send you the link to the form. Please DO NOT attend any club sessions until the end of your self-isolation period – guidance on how long to self-isolate can be found here.

Other questions:

  • When will other sessions restart? I’m thinking of boot camp, the buggy walk in East Park, the juniors sessions…

We are actively planning for the return of our other sessions. Please keep an eye on our Facebook pages for updates through the spring and summer.

  • Will the virtual sessions continue once clubs have reopened?

Yes. We recognise that not everyone will want or be able to return to clubs immediately. So our virtual Pilates, strength and yoga sessions will continue until at least the end of April; our family fitness session will continue until Saturday 27 March – read more about the sessions available and how to join in here. Even if you are coming back to club, these sessions are a great complement to your running, walking or cycling – read how here.

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