First of all, we would like to thank everyone again for their support and understanding back in early March when we decided to cancel the 2020 event.
We have considered the situation carefully over the last few months, and as of now there are still many uncertainties about what the situation will be next spring. Because of this we are choosing to make the early decision that the Highland Fling will not take place in 2021.
The main reasons for this decision are as follows:
1) We do not want to be responsible for facilitating ANY spread of Covid-19 within the population.
2) The event takes over 12 months to organise and at present it is impossible to confirm various important bookings for April 2021. All the businesses integral to the event were massively supportive when we cancelled this year’s event back in March and we cannot ask them to take our bookings, knowing there is a high possibility that the event will again not go ahead and they will again lose out financially.
We know that runners love doing races and this news may be disappointing but safety has always been our main priority at the event. During the current pandemic this priority also extends to the wider population.
Take care everyone
The Fling Team
Due to the current situation with COVID19, otherwise known as the coronavirus, we have taken the decision to cancel this year’s Highland Fling, due to take place on the 25th April 2020, and also the Highland Fling training camp due to take place on the weekend of the 27th-29th March 2020. This is not a decision we have taken lightly, and we are aware that runners and volunteers alike will be extremely disappointed, so we feel it is only fair that we share the reasoning behind our decision.
- The Highland Fling is entirely dependent on volunteers and with the current spread of the virus we cannot be sure that we will have enough marshals and medical personnel to run the event to our usual high standards of safety. If several of our key people - doctors, medical team, rescue boat crew, checkpoint bosses, finishline crew - were suddenly required to self-isolate on the Friday evening, we would be forced to cancel the event at very short notice.
- The Fling medical team is largely made up of NHS personnel and we are very aware that in the coming weeks and months they may be called upon to work overtime. Our medical team includes several GPs, nurses, paramedics, a neurosurgeon and more, and we don’t want to hold them to their commitment to volunteer at the event when their skills will almost certainly be in much greater demand elsewhere.
- There would be several unavoidable occasions across the event where large numbers of people would be confined in small spaces - race registration, starting pens, checkpoint gazebos, the medical tent and the general finish area. Due to news reports about stockpiling of antibacterial hand gels and other similar items, we are concerned that we will be unable to provide increased hygiene facilities across the event and we are not willing to put our runners and volunteers in positions of increased risk.
- The government is not yet advising cancellation of outdoor sporting events, but it is increasingly likely that they will do so soon. The Highland Fling is a non-profit event run by myself, John Duncan, with the help of a core team of volunteers. The entry fees paid each year support that year’s event only, and we do not hold any funds in reserve. As of today, March 11th, expenditure for the 2020 event has been minimal, with most large orders not due to be confirmed until later this month. By cancelling now we can minimise further expenditure, which will allow us to refund as large a percentage of entry fees as possible. (It will also minimise the waste of perishables and dated event merchandise that cannot be reused.)
- Finally, we feel very strongly that cancelling the event is simply the responsible thing to do. We are fully supported in this decision by our event Medical Director and Medical Team Co-ordinator.
We would like to thank you in advance for your patience. Once we have finalised all outstanding expenses and overheads, we will issue the maximum partial refunds possible, as per our Event Terms and Conditions. We hope to have all refunds issued by 31st March. Please bear with us while we sort everything out.
Please contact us by email if you have any queries: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be aware that we anticipate a very high volume of emails over the next few days and replying to everyone may take us slightly longer than normal. We will prioritise enquiries from overseas runners and people booked on the cancelled training camp weekend...
The Highland Fling will return in April 2021. Entries will open in October 2020. All entrants affected by the cancellation will be guaranteed an entry for the 2021 event.