Beware virus vigilantes

bristol personal trainer

Beware virus vigilantes; members of the public assuming the role of police, in seeking – in their eyes – breakers of Covid rules. Their penalty for behaviour that they don’t like ranges from polite exchange to aggressive abuse. My client and I experienced the latter while exercising outdoors in a park.

During lockdown, personal training is permitted, on a 1:1 basis, outside in a public area. I have been working with clients outside, always adhering to social distancing guidelines. I was working with a client in a local park last week, when we were approached by a couple on the warpath, out to meter their interference.

I had a suspension training device rigged up on a lamppost, and was testing it out when a woman came up and asked me if I would replace the lamppost when it fell down. I thought she was joking but she was serious and I replied that this lamppost is totally solid, and could not be budged by any means. It’s been there since light was invented I think; one of those big black heavy ones. Then her partner in policing arrived and actually shouted at my client to “take that thing down, now”. I couldn’t believe how aggressive he was, as a heated exchange took place, my client rightfully defending what we were doing. The scene drew attention because of the volume of the man’s voice, and wild gesticulation, in his boiling rage. He claimed my client was too close, as he came closer himself. It was unbelievable really. So disproportionate.

Then another person yelled that my client had ran too close to him and not given him enough room. This was untrue, as there was plenty of room on the path, and many people pass each other on it easily. A friendly onlooker agreed with us that the abuse we received was totally out of order.

I do think runners generally have been given a bad press during lockdowns, as if one breath exhaled while passing is any worse than the breath of the walker they are passing. The importance of taking physical activity during the pandemic cannot be underestimated, and we should support each other in the common goal of keeping healthy.

We continued the session but we won’t go back there next week, it’s not worth the hassle. The vigilante couple live on the edge of the park so they no doubt make regular trips into the park with their two metre measuring tape, batons and handcuffs at the ready.

Keep exercising! 🙂 Lisa.

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