How the COVID-19 Pandemic is affecting athletes

The Corona Pandemic is having drastic effect on all walks of life and the restrictions look set to continue for an undecided period of time.  We reached out to a few athletes on PledgeSports to see how it’s affecting them, their training and future.  Here’s what they had to say.

Ben Turner is an adventure athlete currently training to break the Fastest Known Time of the Cape Wrath Trail (CWT) in Scotland, here’s what he had to say:

Initially the natural toll on a lot of athletes is the cancelling of events, races and projects for this year.  This is a tough time and for some, reduces their complete source of income.  For me this has meant losing the majority for my clients and delaying my upcoming projects of this year.  The self employed support is, at the time of writing, foggy, but I have the faith and confidence in the government rectify this and to release the details and support necessary.  They have already done so much for the people of the UK in this time and it restores confidence in the country’s leadership.

The 2020 Sports Calendar post COVID-19

Going forward, I see a lot of people either exploring home workouts or using the time to rest, recover, and recharge for the next push coming out of the other side of this period.  Both approaches have their merits.  For those getting active, we are seeing more time spent active with children and families (and pets!).  For those who are resting, then we are seeing opportunities for more sleep, more rest and a healthy relationship with food and exercise.  Ultimately, people are communicating more than ever and the world is starting so see marked environmental factors improving, I hope this situation causes some legacy alterations to habits and lifestyles.

I know the financial implications will be tough, but there is an opportunity here to workout and get experimental if we want to, and to scratch the itch of the Netflix marathon if we feel the need.  Ultimately, I will be going through this with a healthy mindset, with some activity and training in maintenance of fitness levels; and the continued maintenance of a healthy diet based on evidence based principles.  This is a time for helping people and sharing out time and resources where we can to get those trough who are struggling more than other.  This is also a time for showing the long overdue respect and appreciation for those keeping people alive (NHS) and those keeping the country and economy turning (supermarkets, Royal Mail etc).

Those athletes in our ranks, they will keep working hard, pushing further, sharing knowledge or resting and recharging.  This is a global pandemic and the biggest threat of a lifetime, but we can get through it and we will succeed and emerge on top.

*Protecting Yourself From COVID-19*

Heike Holstein is a dressage athlete who has represented Ireland at 3 Olympic Games, and a 13 times national champion:

The virus is affecting me as a rider in different ways. First of all the Olympics has been postponed so that sets our targets much further away.

All competitions are cancelled or postponed, so as a rider I have to plan the fitness and training of my horses accordingly.

As the travel restrictions get more strict, (I presume we will follow UK) people cannot drive to lessons, so like every self employed person, that affects my income too.

On a plus note, I have a lot more time to spend with my family and to clean, tidy, garden, cook etc

These are very difficult times for everyone, with the priority being our health. And hopefully this will pass in the coming weeks and we can return to normal.


Jen Broughall is a  footgolfer – a sport that combines both football and golf

‘With all golf courses shut and only being allowed to go out for once a day for a run or walk it looks pretty bleak for a lot of athletes. Appreciate I am in a different situation to most, footgolf isn’t my job, I feel for those athletes that are full time and are struggling to keep training towards their goals.For me I can practice putting in the back garden and do some circuits at home. Whilst it’s not ideal preparation for what was meant to be my biggest year in footgolf it’s all I can do right now.  There are more important things in the world than footgolf right now, hoping my family and friends stay safe over this stressful period. If anyone wants to chat or ask me questions find me at JB Footgolf on Facebook, happy to talk to anyone.’

Got a story or would you like to tell us how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting you?  Get in touch –


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