Risk assessment for road or trail runs

Last updated: 23 September 2021

All members and guests of Folkestone Running Club, taking part in club organised training or events, should be aware of this risk assessment

Potential hazard:  Uneven Ground

Action required:

  • Remind runners to wear appropriate footwear, where uneven ground is expected, for example trails. 
  • Stick to well known routes and public footpaths. 
  • Runners at front of group to warn following runners of very rutted, uneven ground by shouting.

Potential hazard: Stiles

Action required:

  • Care to be taken when climbing stiles particularly in wet weather where they may be slippery. 
  • Badly maintained/broken stiles to be avoided if possible or climbed with care.

Potential hazards:  Risk of Falling/Slipping on steep or slippery surface.

Action required:

  • Remind runners to run carefully and responsibly keeping a sensible distance between themselves and the runner ahead of them. 
  • Walk if the conditions are particularly difficult.

Potential hazard:  Getting lost

Acrion required:

  • Run Leader to be familiar with area and have run route at least once before.

Potential hazard:  Losing a runner

Action required:

  • Running groups to stick together, appointed leaders to encourage mustering where front runners run back to collect stragglers. 
  • Remind runners to select a group consistent with their ability. 
  • Approximate pace of group to be made clear by leader before run commences. 
  • Ensure that all runners are back at the finish point and that everyone has a safe means of getting home.

Potential hazards:  Animals

Action required:

  • Observe animals before entering field – if any aggressive behaviour observed choose alternative route without hesitation.

Potential hazards:  Dogs

Action required: 

  • Take care when running near dogs particularly when they are off leads and owners are not present. 
  • Slow to a walk if necessary. 
  • Avoid turning your back on the dog. 
  • Seek assistance from the dog owner if appropriate.

Potential hazard:  Overgrown Vegetation/Brambles/Nettles

Action required:

  • Warn runners if route is expected to be particularly over-grown, give them an opportunity to opt out. 
  • If route is impassable take an alternative.

Potential hazard:  Very Hot Weather

Action required:

  • Advise runners to wear kit appropriate to conditions. 
  • Take water particularly on longer runs. 
  • Avoid running at midday, run early morning or evenings. 
  • If conditions are extreme run to be postponed/cancelled at discretion of Coach/Group Leader. 
  • Remind runners to use high factor sun cream.

Potential hazard;  Cold Weather

Action required:

  • Members encouraged to warm up thoroughly in cold weather and wear clothing appropriate to the conditions. 
  • Care should be taken to avoid patches of ice. 
  • Runs will be cancelled by Coach if conditions are considered dangerous.

Potential hazard:  Asthma

Action required:

  • Advise runners to let Leaders know if they suffer with asthma. 
  • Asthmatics must always carry inhalers. 
  • Asthmatics should not run if they are suffering badly or if they fear an asthma attack is imminent. 
  • The decision whether to run or not is left to the discretion of the individual but they must accept that they run at their own risk.

Potential hazards;  Other Medical Conditions

Action required:

  • To be advised to Coach/Leader. 
  • Any appropriate medication to be carried on the run. 
  • The decision whether or not to run is left to the discretion of the individual but they run at their own risk.

Potential hazard: Trail running in the dark

Action required:

  • Off road runs to be undertaken in the dark only under strict supervision of experienced run leaders, in small groups. 
  • All runners required to wear a torch.  

Potential hazard: Running in the dark

Action required:

  • Runners encouraged to wear light or reflective clothing and/or torch. 
  • Wherever possible stay on routes with street lighting, and encourage care when crossing roads. 
  • At the discretion of the Coach/Leader, an inappropriately dressed runner may be asked not to participate in the run.

Potential hazard: Traffic

Action required:

  • Wear reflective clothing – be seen. 
  • Stay on pavement as far as possible. 
  • If forced to run on the road stay to the right (facing traffic). 
  • When crossing road use pedestrian crossing if possible. 
  • Everybody to check for traffic, don’t just follow the crowd. 
  • Coach/Leader/Lead runners to shout warning to following group if traffic approaches unexpectedly.

Potential hazard: Accidents caused by bumping or jostling

Action required:

  • Runners to run carefully and responsibly keeping a sensible distance between themselves and the runner ahead of them.

Potential hazard: Unexpected Obstacles on pavement

Action required:

  • Coach/Leader to advise following group of any unexpected hazards which he/she may come across for example: roadworks, cyclists, bollards, street furniture, broken slabs, wheelchairs, overhang foliage, dog mess, road signs, holes and kerbs by shouting a clear warning.

Potential hazard: Ear or headphones

Action required:

  • Runners not to wear ear or headphones during a coached session
  • Ear or headphones restrict the hearing of any instruction from the Coach/Leader.
  • They also restrict the hearing during trail runs which can have an impact during potential hazards for traffic, or someone trying to communicate a potential danger.
  • Anyone wearing ear or headphones will be asked to remove them or not join in with the session.