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What do events look like post-COVID?

It’s been a long and difficult five months. At HIGH5, we’ve loved seeing so much enthusiasm behind virtual events and so many new athletes pick up bikes and running shoes during lockdown, but now events have started to pick back up.

While a lot of events were postponed, cancelled or moved virtually in 2020, some events have started going ahead. One of these was the Ultimate Triathlon on the 16th August. In our recent survey, 43% of you said you are keen to get back to events as soon as possible, whilst a further 28% want clear social distancing measures in place before turning up at an event again. To give you an idea on what the event was like and what you might be able to expect at other events in future, we spoke to some participants at the Ultimate Triathlon and the organisers UK Triathlon.

“The Ultimate Triathlon was our first event on the 2020 calendar, and we could not be happier to be back doing what we do best and putting on the triathlon for those desperate to get back to swim, bike, run." - UK Triathlon

While we’re always excited to keep you fuelled on race day, we know that health and safety is an absolute priority and that events post-COVID will look different. So, you might be wondering… what exactly do they look like?

What to expect

At UK Triathlon, the organisers of the Ultimate Triathlon, frequent hand sanitiser and temperature checks were put in place, and all staff members wore face coverings. The organisers ensured the site was spacious and well thought out to avoid people needing to cross paths unnecessarily - one way systems could be in place in many events that do go ahead in the near future. Event organisers like UK Triathlon are going out of their way to make the event atmosphere positive and relaxed while staying safe!

“I was curious to see what impact social distancing and other measures would have on the event, but I was pleasantly surprised! On arrival, we were asked to enter the registration tent one by one after sanitising our hands and having our temperature checked. All of the volunteers were wonderful – polite, chatty, and incredibly reassuring despite wearing masks and keeping their distance. The site was spacious allowing people to move about easily, and there was ample signage to ensure nobody was entering areas unnecessarily. Nearly everything else about the event was as usual – the crowd was amazing, the marshals were super supportive and the other competitors were friendly and considerate.”

- Natalie, first female finisher (Aquathlon) @smilegirlruns_

The race

At the startline, the Ultimate Triathlon had a staggered swim start. The lake swim was split into smaller groups based on sex and age group, which allowed each competitor plenty of space to swim the course in. It was always required to santise hands entering transition and at the finish line, as well as keep to your own numbered racking position during the transition and maintain a 2m gap where possible when overtaking on the course.

It's likely that other events will also include things like this to ensure a safer race - from staggered starts and extra hand washing places in areas that are likely to be busier.

“The staggered swim start was unusual for a multi-disciplinary event, but it was undoubtedly the best way to ensure a safe race for all.

Overall, the experience was hugely different to what I had expected but in a good way, and I would encourage anyone who is concerned about racing again to trust that organisers are going out of their way to make us feel safe!”

- Natalie, first female finisher (Aquathlon) @smilegirlruns_


HIGH5 is the on-course nutrition for all UK Triathlon events, but instead of feed stations along the course of the Ultimate Triathlon, nutrition was handed out before the start – all individually wrapped. AT UK Triathlon this is included HIGH5 Energy Gels, and Energy Bars for longer distances. Throughout the course, drinks were dispensed for the participant – both water and HIGH5 Energy Drink. Of course, if you’re still feeling cautious, you can carry your own nutrition in a race belt.

Return to racing

Overall, feedback from Ultimate Triathlon showed that events post-COVID can still be a worthwhile experience with the race atmosphere we've been missing, with 4.7 stars on racecheck.com.

"This is a highly organised, sophisticated and resourceful outfit. Given the massive hurdles that they have overcome at short notice, continuously and decisively this COVID year, last year, every year, everywhere, I cannot conceive of a more worthy investment of your time, effort and money". - Participant review on Racecheck

"UK Triathlon put on a great event that was safe and well run. One of the only long course triathlons to actually take place this year. Fun, friendly and helpful staff and marshals made the day a success". - Participant review on Racecheck

"2020 was obviously COVID year so I massively salute UK Triathlon for making this possible and making it safe. The organisation was exemplary, but even with the restrictions they still managed to make it a super friendly feeling event". - Participant review on Racecheck

We're looking forward to fuelling you on course on the 6th September for Shropshire Triathlon! For more information about UK Triathlon and their COVID guidance, click here.

HIGH5 Triathlon Pack

The Slow Release Energy Pack contains all the products and flavours of our new Slow Release Energy range, providing you with longer-lasting energy. Enhanced with Ocean Minerals for an invigorating hit of magnesium and over 70 minerals and trace elements. Get yours here.

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