Please note: This is an evolving document and is subject to change.
1. Why do you think it is safe to relaunch 5K Your Way groups?
No activity is entirely safe. The benefits of physical activity and peer support for those living with and beyond cancer are well recognised and significant. There is also excellent evidence that the risk of transmission of Covid-19 is far less outdoors than it is indoors.
People living with and after cancer have a diverse level of risk that is impacted not only by their diagnosis and treatment but also by other risk factors including age, ethnicity, sex and other medical problems. Within the cancer community, some people will be at a higher risk and some will be lower risk depending on their individual circumstances. That’s why we advise anyone who is concerned about whether it is safe for them to attend a 5K Your Way group to discuss their personal risk with their health-care professional.
We recognise many people living with and after cancer will have conflicted emotions about the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.
We believe that every individual should have the opportunity to make their own decision as to how they live their life. We will always welcome everybody who wishes to attend, as long as they are following the current government guidance on Covid-19.
2. I am currently shielding, can I come to a 5k Your Way group?
Keep up to date with the government’s advice on shielding HERE. Other cancer charities have published advice and guidance on shielding, found at the following links:
Please also see question 23 about high risk individuals on the parkrun FAQ’s HERE.
Ultimately, the decision as to whether you attend a 5k Your Way group is yours, based on your individual circumstances. We would always encourage you to seek guidance from your health-care professionals.
3. Who is NOT permitted to attend a 5k Your Way group?
Our 5k Your Way groups will always welcome everybody, as long as you do not have symptoms of Covid-19, or have been advised to self-isolate after yourself or a close contact has tested positive for Covid-19.
4. I have been told I am clinically extremely vulnerable. Is it safe for me to attend a 5K Your Way group?
As in question 2, ultimately, the decision as to whether you attend a 5k Your Way group is yours, based on your individual circumstances. We would always encourage you to seek individualised guidance from your health-care professionals.
The national guidance from the government to clinicians advising patients who are immunosuppressed (correct as of 20/7/21) states:
“Clinicians may wish to emphasise the following points within the general advice to clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) people from 19 July. The Government highlights that those who are CEV may wish to take the following actions:
Consider the risks of close contact with others:
• In crowded spaces, where there are more people who might be infectious.
• In enclosed indoor spaces where there is limited fresh air.
• When COVID-19 disease levels are high in the general community.
Take steps to reduce the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19. For example, they could:
• Meet outside if possible – the particles containing the virus that causes COVID-19 are quickly blown away which makes it less likely that they will be breathed in by another person.
• Make sure the space is well ventilated if you meet inside; open windows and doors or take other action to let in plenty of fresh air – please see the COVID-19: ventilation of indoor spaces guidance for more information.
• Consider whether you and those you are meeting have been vaccinated – you might want to wait until 14 days after everyone’s second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before being in close contact with others.
• Wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face.
• Consider continuing to practice social distancing if that feels right for you and your friends.
• Asking friends and family to take a lateral flow test before visiting you.
• Ask home visitors to wear face coverings.
This advice will be particularly appropriate to those who are immunosuppressed, especially if they have only received one dose of vaccination, or as a precautionary measure for those who have received both vaccinations, given that research in this area is still underway.
If clinicians want to provide patients with further information, or give general advice for immunosuppressed people, a useful summary is provided HERE.
We would like to reiterate that our recommendation is for anybody who has concerns to discuss their own level of risk with their clinician. There is no one size fits all and within the cancer community, some people will be at a higher risk and some will be lower risk depending on their individual circumstances. More information on current data regarding vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic Covid-19 infection is included in appendix 1 at the end of this document.
5. I am currently undergoing cancer treatment, what is the current medical advice for someone undergoing treatment on attending ‘gatherings’ outside? For example, a 5k Your Way group?
Some people may feel the physical, social and psychological benefits of taking part in 5k Your Way outweigh any potential risks of Covid-19, regardless of any underlying health conditions. Others may decide they are not comfortable taking part, regardless of any underlying health conditions.
Ultimately, the decision as to whether you take part in 5k Your Way at parkrun is yours, based on your individual circumstances. We would always encourage you to seek guidance from your health-care professionals to help you make that decision.
Our 5k Your Way groups will always welcome everybody, as long as doing so does not contravene government guidance. Please note that our groups do not offer medical support or advice.
The current guidance for people at higher risk from Covid-19 can be found HERE. Please note that this guidance is subject to change.
See HERE for advice and information regarding Covid-19 and cancer published by Macmillan.
Please see the answer to question 1 of these FAQs and the advice that other cancer charities give through the list of links.
Please also see question 23 on the parkrun FAQs HERE about high risk individuals.
6.Do I have to wear a mask/face covering to be part of a 5k Your Way group?
Please note that 5k Your Way is not an event, we are a group attending the parkrun event. Therefore, we must follow all the guidelines set out by parkrun.
Please see point number 18 on the parkrun FAQs HERE.
7. Will Ambassadors and other participants be wearing masks?
We recognise that some people may feel more comfortable wearing a mask. The current government guidance does not mandate masks and as such, we will not mandate mask wearing either by participants or Ambassadors. We believe it is up to individuals to make their own decision.
8. Will you be encouraging lateral flow tests before attending a 5K Your Way group?
More information on lateral flow tests can be found HERE.
We will not be mandating lateral flow tests before taking part in 5K Your Way. However, we would encourage participants to consider requesting and using free lateral flow tests to check to see if they have the virus, even with no symptoms.
9. If I do not feel comfortable going to a 5k Your Way group is there a different way I could get involved?
(Not) 5k Your Way
We recognise that some members of our community may not wish to return to, or take part in, 5k Your Way at this point in time. We all make different assessments of personal risk and as always in life, there is often no right or wrong answer.
However there are still ways for you to get involved. Last year parkrun launched (not) parkrun and we thought it is such a good idea that we are copying it! Why not have a go at a (Not) 5k Your Way?!
This means you can go do 5k Your Way wherever, whenever and however you like.
The most important thing you do is shout about it, share it with us and have fun! It would be great to see lots of you getting involved and lots of pictures of you doing a (Not) 5k Your Way!
You can register your times HERE.
10. Is there anything I can do to feel part of the 5k Your Way community whilst staying at home?
We have a section on our website called Move Your Way Resources HERE that includes the following:
11. What is the current medical advice on attending ‘gatherings’ outside?
Please always follow the current government guidelines on this which changes regularly and can be different in different parts of the country, for example, with localised lockdowns.
12. Will your guidance change if government guidelines change?
We will continue to update and amend our Framework and FAQ’s to reflect any changes in government guidelines as and when necessary. Our Framework is an evolving document and we will review it as and when necessary.
13. I am a health care professional and I might be asked questions by 5K Your Way participants. Where shall I signpost them?
Please signpost participants to these FAQ’s and if they would like further information then signpost them to the 5k Your Way Framework HERE, the parkrun Covid-19 Framework HERE, the parkrun blog HERE and the parkrun FAQs HERE.
Please do not feel obliged to answer any questions from participants that you are not comfortable answering. If they have further questions or concerns please ask them to email: firstname.lastname@example.org
14. How can numbers and social distancing be controlled?
Please see question 9 and 22 of the parkrun FAQ’s HERE.
We recommend that 5K Your Way meeting points are located away from the start/finish of the parkrun event and encourage all participants to follow government guidelines on social distancing which can be found HERE and the NHS guidelines HERE.
15. How can Ambassadors support and encourage people living with cancer to be part of the group?
If you are a 5k Your Way Ambassador, please allow all participants to make their own decision about whether to participate, especially if they are currently living with or beyond cancer and do not advise people whether or not they should attend.
We all make our own, individualised, personal assessments of risk and we all judge different levels of risk differently. Please advise participants to speak to their health care professional if they would like further guidance.
Please also read our 5k Your Way framework HERE.
If participants do not feel comfortable participating in 5K Your Way at parkrun, please signpost them to opportunities they can undertake alone and/or at home. You can see all the details in the answers to questions 9 & 10 on these FAQs.
16. How have you considered the concerns of 5k Your Way participants?
We surveyed a random sample of all 5K Your Way participants in order to understand people’s views about the relaunch. We have addressed the main questions, worries and comments, expressed in the survey responses, through this FAQs document. We have also surveyed health care professionals working in cancer services regarding the relaunch of 5K Your Way groups.
We have had individual calls with all Ambassadors, to give them a chance to ask further questions and for us to give further guidance before groups relaunch.
We will have a Q&A session with our co-founders Gemma Hillier-Moses, Lucy Gossage and COO of parkrun Tom Williams that will be open to everyone to ask questions.
17. What have you put in place to keep participants and volunteers safe?
We have created a ‘5k Your Way Covid-19 Framework: Guidance for 5k Your Way Ambassadors document’ which can be found HERE. Please note this is guidance specifically written to support our Ambassadors, but is open for anybody to view.
This current ‘FAQ’s: Guidance for 5k Your Way participants’ document is in place to help participants know what to expect and highlight important guidance to follow.
Please remember that 5k Your Way is not an event; we are participants at parkrun events. All 5k Your Way members should adhere to the guidelines that parkrun have put in place, outlined in their Framework.
parkrun have also developed a list of FAQs HERE. Please see point 3e on the parkrun framework and point 20 on the parkrun FAQ’s about undergoing a self-assessment for Covid-19 symptoms.
It is the responsibility of each individual to assess the risks, perform a self-assessment and make an informed decision based on their individual circumstances.
18. Is there a 5k Your Way group risk assessment?
Yes, please see the overall 5k Your Way Risk Assessment HERE that can be applied to all groups.
The parkrun Risk Assessment can be found by scrolling to the bottom of the parkrun framework HERE.
19. What about Track and Trace?
Please see question 24 in the parkrun FAQ’s HERE.
20. Can I wait and see how the first 5k Your Way meet-up goes and then decide if I’d like to participate in the next month or further down the line?
Of course! There’s no rush at all; you will always be welcomed back to the 5k Your Way community when you would like to physically return. In the meantime we hope you will continue being part of the community virtually as well. See questions 9 & 10 for more details on this.
21. Where can I find support on mental wellbeing?
There is a lot of support out there around looking after your mental wellbeing during the pandemic. There is an excellent list of mental health charities on the NHS website here. Please also see the links below which you may find helpful.
22. I’ve had COVID-19 but am no longer symptomatic, can I attend?
Please see point 3E on the parkrun framework HERE about undergoing a self-assessment for any Covid-19 symptoms.
If you’ve had Covid-19 and have finished self isolating please wait until you have no symptoms, remember to take things easy on returning to exercise. You can find advice on this HERE.
PLEASE NOTE: The following questions contain general guidance and not medical advice. If you have any concerns, we would advise you to discuss these with your medical team.
23. I've had Covid-19. How long should I wait before returning to exercise?
Take your time. Even for people with 'mild' symptoms (defined as not needing to go to hospital), Covid-19 takes longer to recover than the average cold or flu.
The principles for returning to sport come from national guidelines, with initial 10 days of rest in most cases. This will help you recover faster and protect the heart and lungs from added stress.
Light walking and moving around the home is good, but no exercise.
The UK Home Counties Institute of Sport have produced detailed guidance that you can find HERE.
24. I've had Covid-19. I was ill for a couple of weeks but feel better now, when can I return to exercise?
See the diagram from the UK Home Counties Institute for Sport HERE from page 3-7 for a plan to get back. You'll notice that each step is gradual and you can start after a minimum of ten days’ rest and once you have no symptoms.
Use how you feel to guide you and ease back if you are tired, don't push it. This is based on advice for elite athletes, however the principals work for everyone.
25. I've had Covid-19 and I was really unwell / I'm not better yet, when can I return to exercise?
Waiting until your symptoms settle is important. For a smaller number of people, COVID-19 can cause complications.
Here's when to seek help:
-If you usually do regular, intensive sport or have an underlying health condition like cancer, and you were ill for more than two weeks, it's recommended you see your GP to check that you are ready for exercise.
-If you have remained short of breath for more than four weeks or have any chest pain, check in with your GP.
26. Can I exercise with 'long Covid?'
Long covid can be challenging for active people, because it has symptoms that often include fatigue, and frequently, fatigue that is increased by exercise in the early stages.
It is important to rest until exercise does not worsen your symptoms. For some people, they may still experience fatigue for several months, but when exercise no longer worsens symptoms, it can be time to start a very gradual return, walking small amounts first. It's a good plan to see your doctor who can refer you to a long covid clinic.
We don’t yet fully understand why some people get long covid, but one early exercise that can be helpful is for breathing. Follow this link HERE- This can help the centres in the brain control heart rate and breathing rate, and it can help rebuild a little of your routine.
If you are getting better, keep track of all the things you balance with your exercise (life and work, rest and activity), pace yourself and only try a little at a time and try to get more rest.
27. After having Covid-19, will I have lost fitness?
For most people, Covid-19 is an illness that affects their ability to exercise for 4-6 weeks.
You will feel less fit and it's a good time to take a step back and restart exercise gradually - don't just jump back in!
You might have lost muscle strength as well as some fitness. Build up slowly and set yourself small goals. Starting with easy stretching and bodyweight strength exercises is a good idea. See HERE for our Move Your Way sessions, give them a go!
If you usually participate in 5k Your Way, start with 1-2k walk/jog/run and build up or do your virtual course in reverse so that you don't compare yourself to where you were pre-Covid. With care and taking it slowly, you'll get back!
If you have questions that are not answered within this document please email Georgie, our 5K Your Way manager, on email@example.com
Appendix 1. Vaccine efficacy in those who are immunosuppressed.*
PHE data released on 9 July shows for those who are immunosuppressed, vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic infection is 4% after a first dose. However, this rises to 74% after a second dose, which amounts to broadly similar protection levels to those who are not in a risk group.1 It should be noted however that these figures are based on very small numbers of events in a subgroup which covers a broad definition of immunocompromise. The analysis also only looked at symptomatic disease. Further work is therefore needed to evaluate vaccine efficacy in specific groups, and to evaluate vaccine efficacy against severe outcomes.
It is also important to note that these are aggregated data for immunocompromised patients as a whole. Within this group there will be substantial variation in the degree of immunosuppression: in some individuals, any vaccine hypo-responsiveness might have been transient related to ongoing or recent chemotherapy that is time limited, suggesting that they might respond to a booster at a later time point. In other cases where immunosuppression is more intrinsic to the underlying condition, such as those with haematological malignancies2, any reduced ability to respond to vaccines might persist. Measurement of antibody levels post-vaccination appears to correlate in general with the likelihood of vaccine protection against infection, but unless T-cell responses are also measured, likely clinical protection against severe disease cannot be fully assessed.
The OCTAVE-DUO study is seeking answers to these issues by evaluating boosters for the immunosuppressed and should be able to report to JCVI by late August or early September. Notwithstanding, taken as a single group of patients, the aggregated estimate of vaccine effectiveness against infection is very reassuring for most patients, after two doses. These figures underline just how vital it is that everyone takes advantage of both doses to secure high levels of protection.
All clinically extremely vulnerable individuals, not just those who are immunosuppressed, have always been and remain a high priority group of individuals for COVID-19 vaccination (Cohorts 4 and 6). Interim advice from the JCVI, indicates that in the Autumn a programme of booster vaccinations may be offered to individuals over the age of 16 who are immunosuppressed and to adult household contacts. It remains important that clinicians in all areas of healthcare promote vaccination amongst this group and their adult household contacts, and that each contact is used to ensure that these groups are fully up to date with their vaccinations.
Where therapy with immunosuppressive drugs is being considered or may be required at short notice (i.e. from past history of acute flare ups requiring intervention), then full vaccination should be encouraged, and implemented in such a way as to promote optimal immune response. More information can be found HERE.
Further information on the vaccine and blood cancer can be found on the Blood Cancer UK website HERE.
*Taken from government advice to clinicians, dated 19/7/21.