As we begin to enjoy the festive season, so we can also look forward to saying goodbye to 2020 – and for a lot of people there is probably a strong sense of “good riddance” mixed in with our cautious dose of festive cheer.
Nobody needs to be reminded that the sports industry has been hit particularly hard hit by Covid-19 in 2020, and no matter what your personal feelings are on the pandemic and the vaccines that are being rolled out, there is no doubt sportsmen and women around the world are looking for a better year in 2021.
The past few months have seen an improvement and there is cause for cautious optimism as more events slowly start appearing on federation calendars. However, the recent Matric Rage proved that things can go wrong quickly, and event organisers and participants must remain vigilant and disciplined.
As we all return to racing, organising and eventually watching sport, it is obvious that things have changed. The gung-ho attitude of some event organisers is no longer acceptable, and the likes of safety officers, who have long been one of the hidden members of an organising crew, are now thrust into the forefront at events.
All of this means participants and organisers have to change their attitude, and there probably needs to be a bit of patience all round as we work out the new order and develop systems and strategies to allow for the extra layers of safety and compliance.
One of the good things to come out of 2020 has been a surge in innovation – such as the FinishTime Passport App which allows for a paperless, safe and secure Covid-compliant registration – and event organisers have been forced to find better ways of doing things as they solve problems that were not there pre-2020.
A second positive to emerge has been a renewal of interest in health and fitness. Bike shops and running stores are reporting surges in sales. It remains to be seen whether this translates into an increase in participation at sporting events, and there may be a long wait before that can be assessed as most events work with number restrictions.
But there is hope for 2021 (with an added bonus that we will get so watch an Olympic Games in an odd year for the first time). So, as you enjoy a scaled-down festive season, we hope you can look forward to 2021 and maybe plan a restart to your sporting dreams and aspirations.
But as you contemplate your hopes and dreams for the new year, please also remember the thousands of people within the sporting industry that need 2021 to a better year.
FinishTime wishes all participants, organisers and sporting service providers a happy and healthy festive season and hope you enjoy a busy 2021 that surpasses all your dreams and expectations.