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Face masks

Speedy60Half Marathon

Social media is alive with comments about Piers Morgan saying runners should wear face masks. I have no interest in Piers Morgan's self-promoting opinions, but I wondered what the other contributors comments were.

I can't get any sense out of the running forums; they're all too busy being incensed, so I thought I'd come here for some sanity. Did anyone watch it this morning? Was there any actual science spoken by any professionals in the field?



45 Replies
Buddy34Half Marathon

Yes I seen it and I disagree. I always give others plenty room and even the ones that don't move over at all I end up on the road. So no I don't think we should wear a mask when running👍

Speedy60Half Marathon in reply to Buddy34

Thanks Buddy. I just wondered if anyone made any sensible points, or whether it was just Morgan blathering on. Obviously, I'm not running in a face mask and I'm not going to give up running, but the debate in my town has become pretty nasty.

Buddy34Half Marathon in reply to Speedy60

Is it more the non runners who have a problem with runners and face masks?

Run46Half Marathon in reply to Buddy34

Yes I think so...if someone's coughing and sputtering all over you as they run passed, they're probably late for a bus...us C25K grads have more control over our breathing than that 😉

Speedy60Half Marathon in reply to Buddy34

It is non runners complaining, and I do understand that people are anxious, but when it came to threats of violence, I decided I'd had enough.

I try to be the smiliest, politest runner who ever hit the pavements but you can see from my strava that I've changed my routes and times that I run. I still feel uncomfortable at times though.

IrishprincessHalf Marathon

This argument has been around for a while now and as usual I think it’s a minority that’s making the most noise. While I mostly run where there are no others, on the few occasions I have to pass anyone I either hold my breath or make a real effort not to puff and pant or just put my buff over my nose and mouth for the few seconds it takes to run past them.

I’ve listened to this clip on YouTube and my immediate reaction is “why are streets busy anyway because we’re supposed to be in bl**dy lockdown!!!” 🙄

Speedy60Half Marathon in reply to Irishprincess

The people who are complaining on our town Facebook page, seem to be the same ones who stop and chat to their friends for ages outside the takeaway coffee shop. 🤔

IrishprincessHalf Marathon in reply to Speedy60

Exactly! 🤬

Run46Half Marathon

I can only understand this in city centres IF even with Covid restrictions it's still really busy 🤷‍♀️

But for the majority of us friendly, sensible runners I imagine like me they are socially distancing when passing people and safely popping out into the road as needed to ensure there's plenty of room for everyone without the need for a mask.

I am careful now as though I don't think my running is an issue, I know some vocal people like to suggest we're coughing and sputtering over everyone so being extra polite ensures no-one has an excuse to complain 👍


Morgan is bad for our health 😁

cheekychipmunksHalf Marathon in reply to misswobble

Yes he is! 😖

Speedy60Half Marathon in reply to misswobble

Well said miswobble 👍

There has been debate over this in the past and back last summer my manager said something about it, I rose to her bait and pointed out that our guidance is 2 metres apart for more than 15 minutes and we would need to wear a face mask, at that time it was only when in close proximity of the people who live there that we put our masks on, I was told in no uncertain terms that I should allow her to exaggerate and pick on us runners every so often

Now we wear masks all day every day whether we are near someone or not and we no longer share our snacks and take our tea outside to drink and are proud we have kept Covid out of our home

When running though we wear a buff and pull this up over our mouths when passing people more out of consideration for others anxieties than for any other reason

I take my oxygen levels regularly at work and it’s shown no difference if i’ve been wearing a mask than if i haven’t so if we have to then we will get used to it while running

AlMorr10 Miles in reply to WillowandSola

It won't happen, there will not be any law making runners or cyclists having to wear facemasks.

Speedy60Half Marathon in reply to AlMorr

I don't think for one moment that it will be made law. What concerns me, although it may not bother others, is the toxic culture people like Morgan stoke. Life is difficult enough as it is at the moment.

nowster10 Miles

The guidance from a set of university researchers is: mask on only if running through crowds.



Runners encouraged to wear masks when exercising

Joggers should wear a mask when they run past groups of people, experts have suggested.

Trish Greenhalgh, professor in primary care health sciences at the University of Oxford, told ITV's Good Morning Britain: "There is no doubt the virus is in the air, there is no doubt that you can catch it if you inhale, and that someone else has exhaled.

"The exercising jogger - the puffing and panting jogger - you can feel their breath come and you can sometimes actually feel yourself inhale it, so there's no doubt that there is a danger there.

"40% of COVID cases happen by catching it from people who have no symptoms - so you're jogging along you think you're fine, and then the next day you develop symptoms of COVID, but you've actually breathed that COVID onto someone perhaps you know, an old lady walking a dog or something like that."

Devi Sridhar, professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh, added that once you're out into open space, runners could "take off your mask and run freely".

Speedy60Half Marathon in reply to nowster

Thank you for this. I'm guessing the nuanced argument about open spaces will be lost on a lot of opinionated walkers where I live.

I left the town Facebook group because it wasn't doing my mental health any good. It wouldn't be quite so bad if the crowded spaces weren't people congregating round the coffee shop!

nowster10 Miles in reply to Speedy60

Nowadays I'm no longer a "puffing and panting jogger". I probably breathe as hard as when doing a brisk walk.

I seriously doubt anyone who does 10km or more fits that description.

I heard about this from a friend that watched it. She also said that he was rude (no change there then) about some runners being "fat" and some bearly 'running' at all..... he must have seen me when I was running!

Anyway, here's my non expert opinion as a person who used to run, and also as a person that is on the shielding list but likes to go for a walk........

I don't think runners should be expected to wear a face mask whilst running, but I do think it's feasible to wear something like a snood or buff and pull it up when passing somebody. I've been passed by considerate runners, but also by inconsiderate runners one of which ran right up behind me and made me jump.

I think it's common knowledge that the virus is mainly spread by exhaled aerosol, hence the 2 metre distancing, and any puffing and panting will exastebate this, probably requiring a greater social distance.

I tend to wear a snood even when walking and pull it up when passing other walkers, but it has to be said that the shielding thing has made me somewhat paranoid! 🤪

Speedy60Half Marathon in reply to Wenderwoo

Thanks Wenderwoo. I've come to the conclusion that there are some nice considerate people in the world, some not so much. It doesn't really matter whether they are runners, walkers, cyclists or dog owners. We all have to do our best to make allowances for each other. It doesn't help when rude shouty people like Piers Morgan stick their oar in!

I've been seriously spooked by some of the comments in my area, but I have to take into account that we are all stressed and anxious. I hope you get your vaccine soon and we can all start to get out of this nightmare. Best wishes x

Wenderwoo in reply to Speedy60

Woohoo.....Mr Shouty has been kicked into touch 😁

Couldn't agree with you more, especially about shouty know it all man! I've already had my first dose a month ago - probably the only pro of being high risk! Good wishes to you too, and keep enjoying your running x

Beachcomber66Half Marathon

I don’t watch or listen to PM and, health unlocked apart, I steer clear of social media. In my little world, everyone I meet when out on a run is just as friendly and considerate as ever and I feel perfectly at ease. I give people all of the space I can, and they reciprocate, usually with smiles and thanks all round. One bloke used to enjoy having a bit of a blokey dig, but even he is really pleasant now. Give me reality every time 🙂

Speedy60Half Marathon in reply to Beachcomber66

I've left a lot of social media because it wasn't helping me. I do belong to a Facebook running group which is very supportive.

When I wanted a reasoned, calm opinion, I came here though. I knew it would be a safe space. 💕

Beachcomber66Half Marathon in reply to Speedy60

Spot on Speedy60; loads of love in these posts 🙂

I don’t want to wear a mask when running, or at any other time really, but if the science proves we are a risk to others then, like I do in shops etc I would wear one. But I don’t think the definition of a “puffing and panting jogger” suggest a scientific study. I do try to give all people a wide berth, but some refuse to move over or walk single file when passing so I guess they don’t care. I will probably invest in a buff so I can pull it up as I approach others as a matter of caution and will await further information, or maybe stop running and just walk! Here’s hoping we beat this pandemic soon and the masks necessities are no longer needed.

Speedy60Half Marathon in reply to Kat332zz

Amen to that! 💕

I suggest we ignore the attention-seeking tool. I have more trouble with pairs of inconsiderate walkers who can. not. step into single file on the pavement for a moment to let me pass in the other direction, even while I'm walking. If I'm running, I always give a wide berth, but rude walkers can do one.

nowster10 Miles in reply to PandaCory

Then there are the zombies who are totally unaware of what's going on around them and take up the whole width of the pavement or path.

Speedy60Half Marathon in reply to nowster

I think my husband is a zombie. He doesn't mean to be, he just lacks social awareness. 🧟‍♂️ (Yup, that's definitely him 😅)

Sandie1961Half Marathon

I didn’t see the programme but read the report in the papers. They seem to have conveniently omitted the footnote that covid is 19 times less likely to be contracted outdoors than indoors! Having said that, out of courtesy I give others space (and did before covid) or, if I can’t due to traffic, I slow to a walk until I’m clear. I hate wearing a mask!

This is real bugbear of mine. I would recommend having a look at Muge Cevik’s pinned thread on the on Twitter for some sense. She is a respected scientist and expert on infectious diseases. Unlike Piers Morgan.

I makes me so cross that some people (even with symptoms!!!) are having to go to work and schools are being reopened all at once but what gets attention instead, people keeping themselves fit outdoors!

Dexy510 Miles

There’s no way I would wear a mask while running. The new framework for the return of parkrun states that runners should wear a mask for the pre-run and briefing, and post-run, but nothing about during the run. They have received guidance from medical experts so if if it’s good enough for parkrun, it’s good enough for me running on my own.

Don’t get me on the subject of other people taking up the full width of pavement/prom, being on phones unaware of anything else, having a dog on extendable leash ....... Sometimes I feel like I am the only one looking ahead and anticipating a safe path, whether I’m running or walking 😠

Speedy60Half Marathon in reply to Dexy5

Thanks Dexy. I didn't know that advice from parkrun, it's interesting to know. I've signed up and ordered a wristband. It was one of my resolutions to start parkrun before the whole 2020 s***show. Back then I was nervous of running with others because I didn't feel like a 'proper' runner. Now I'm just thinking, bring it on!

Dexy510 Miles in reply to Speedy60

I apologise Speedy. Having just re-read the COVID-19 framework , they don’t mention masks at all. The advice on masks I quoted must have been in the instructions of a race I have entered this year. But what parkrun are saying is that you should keep distanced before and after the run and not hang around afterwards. The framework document is not yet finalised though. I will take a mask for before and after anyway.

Sadly the distance rules mean that you will not get the usual friendly community pre and post race chats that makes parkrun so great. But it will still be great to have it back in whatever form.

The great thing about parkrun is people don’t judge runners or walkers - it’s taking part that counts

cheekychipmunksHalf Marathon

I’m not sure I could even run in a mask. 😳

I haven’t ventured into town for ages so fortunately I’ve encountered no grumpy walkers. The dog walkers I do meet when on the trails are generally friendly and we exchange pleasantries, but even so I’ll detour if I see anyone in the distance. If I come across someone on a narrow part though, I’ll always move over, unless they do so first. Most do, and I thank them profusely. Only occasionally I’ve been forced into the mud/brambles/nettles, but I try to “let it go”! 🙄

I’m not a “coughy spluttery jogger” either thanks Piers Morgan! I doubt any of us on here are now. The last thing we need is some #*!@ stirring up toxic thoughts and giving us runners a bad name. The same people who are doing their best to stay healthy. 😠

Speedy60Half Marathon in reply to cheekychipmunks

That's my main worry - apart from the threats if violence made where I live - if I really had to wear a mask, I would have to give up running for the foreseeable. X

cheekychipmunksHalf Marathon in reply to Speedy60

The last thing this country needs at the moment is people being dissuaded from exercising. They’re talking about the rise in obesity on the radio this morning, and the fact they might need to think about paying people to exercise. 🙄

Pippa49Half Marathon in reply to cheekychipmunks

I didn't see it as at work. I hate wearing a mask and cannot wait until we no longer have to wear them. I wear one all day at work in the NHS so other times I wear a running buff as it doesn't have to be a mask just a face covering and tbh I spend as little time as possible in places where I have to wear one!

Hopefully noone of influence will take any notice of Piers Morgan. He should be charged with hate speech stirring up such nastiness - people are anxious and as stressed enough and running for some provides a release as well as keeping them fit. Someone on one of the FB groups I am in said they have emailed GMb to complain.

Speedy60Half Marathon in reply to Pippa49

You'd think he'd have a duty, if not a conscience, to impart reasoned information during a pandemic, but it seems his need for self promotion trumps the nation's physical and mental health. 🤷‍♀️

Curlygurly2Half Marathon

I think Piers Morgan should wear a gag...

Speedy60Half Marathon in reply to Curlygurly2



I don't (and won't) wear a mask when running and they are not legally required outdoors anyway. Funnily enough, on Facebook forums the exchanges are way more energetic and if you venture over to Twitter with this question, you are risking being buried alive under a wave of torrential abuse. Twitter can be vile. I love this neighbourhood much, much, more.

Speedy60Half Marathon in reply to mrrun

That's why I posted here; it's always civilised. I need to keep running for my mental, as well as my physical health. I wouldn't cope well with a torrent of abuse but I wanted to find out what the general consensus is.

Coddfish10 Miles

Piers Morgan is best ignored, he also thinks runners should be banned from running down high streets.

I am exceedingly grateful the uk government has taken a nuanced view on the risks of the outdoors versus the indoors and that mask policy reflects it. Virus prevalence is considerably reduced since the January peak anyway, if you didn’t need a mask outdoors in January you certainly don’t need one now.

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