COLCHESTER'S two athletics clubs have suspended training until further notice, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Both Colchester Harriers and Colchester and Tendring Athletic Club have halted sessions at their Garrison base.

This is in line with the statement issued by England Athletics on Tuesday morning.

"The UK government has advised that everyone in the UK should now avoid 'non-essential' travel and contact with others to fight coronavirus," said the statement.

"Whilst it has not issued any ban on public gatherings of any size, either indoors or outdoors, at this stage, the advice is to avoid non-essential contact with others, including going to sporting events, pubs, clubs, theatres and social venues.

"As a result, England Athletics advises that all face-to-face activity such as club training sessions, events, competitions, club committee and face-to-face meetings, athlete camps, running groups and social events should be suspended until at least the end of April.

"The decision has been taken in the interests of athletes, runners, officials, coaches, volunteers, supporters and the wider athletics and running communities.

"This decision is also in alignment with actions taken by the home country athletics federations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and is similar to action taken by other sports.

"Where possible, athletes and runners at all levels are encouraged to maintain their own personal fitness and keep active during this time, while following government guidelines about safe distance and safe exercise environments.

"England Athletics will continue to review and monitor government advice and will provide detailed updates on the impact to our sport in the coming weeks.

"We appreciate that the current situation will undoubtedly place our member clubs in a difficult situation and we are working with UKA and the other Home Country Athletics Federations on the best way to help alleviate the situation and will update you as plans evolve."

As things stand, parkruns will still go ahead on Saturday morning at venues including Colchester's Castle Park, Highwoods, Clacton, Harwich, Mersea Island, Maldon and Great Notley.

However, Tom Williams, chief operating officer of parkrun Global, expects to make a further update by the end of Wednesday.

He said: "We will be spending the early part of this week consulting with public health experts and speaking directly with national-level senior public health leaders and we will then make our own decisions as to where our events should close and where they should stay open.

"Importantly, as has been our commitment from the start, we will close our events wherever official public health guidance recommends or requires."