World Athletics will form a task force aimed at providing outbreak prevention guidelines for mass gatherings including road races. The international federation for track and field will partner with the International Institute for Race Medicine on the endeavor.

The Outbreak Prevention Taskforce will also include the medical chairs or representatives of the International Cycling Union (UCI), International Ski Federation (FIS), International Triathlon Union (ITU), International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and World Rowing (FISA), as well as Professor Brian McCloskey of the Centre on Global Health Security, Royal Institute of International Affairs, an independent expert in outbreak prevention and member of the WHO Novel Coronavirus-19 Mass Gatherings Expert Group.

In addition, the task force will create an advisory group made up of representatives from industry, private companies, sponsors, partners and media.

“We are forming this task force to bring together key representatives from all parts of the endurance sports world to help find solutions and create viable and appropriate guidelines for participants of mass sports events, event staff, volunteers and the community at large,” said Dr. Stephane Bermon, director of the health and science department at World Athletics. “COVID-19 has been the stimulus for the formation of this taskforce, however, many event organizers have also had to deal with norovirus and other contagious diseases during the staging of events and this taskforce will help create guidelines to help reduce the risk of infection.

The group intends to deliver recommendations to prevent disease outbreaks in mass gatherings and provide race organizers and governing bodies with guidelines, including a risk assessment tool to determine the outbreak risk at events. The groups also aims to offer mitigation plans, and suggestions of contingency plans. It will also collect and analyze data to determine if COVID-19 survivors have increased risk of developing illness or injury when participating in endurance events and/or vigorous activity.

The group will begin meeting the week of April 20.