Parkrun return delayed until June 26

The planned return of parkrun events has been delayed until June 26 after landowner permission fell “far short” of what was needed, the organisation said.

The free 5k Saturday morning event was due to restart in England on Saturday, June 5, however parkrun said only about 250 of the 589 venues which had previously hosted the weekly run had given permission for the event to return.

“This falls far short of the critical mass needed to prevent overwhelming those that have been given the go ahead,” parkrun said in a statement.

The events have had legal permission to resume since March 29 as per the Government’s step one of the road map out of lockdown.

Parkrun Global’s chief operating officer Tom Williams called the delay “disappointing”, but added he was “incredibly grateful to all those landowners who have given us the green light to go ahead”.

He added: “We are in positive conversations with landowners for all other events where permission has not yet been forthcoming, and continue to work collaboratively with them to agree this new restart date.”

The announcement of the delay comes just days after Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told the Commons he and Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick will “shortly be sending a very clear message and signal in writing” to local officials that the runs should proceed.

A Local Government Association (LGA) spokesperson previously said: “Councils understand how valued events such as parkrun are for people’s mental and physical wellbeing.

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“They are keen to help manage the safe return of events in their area and the LGA has been liaising with organisers to support their restart.

“The pent-up demand for events has meant councils have received about 600% more applications than normal, including from parkrun.

“Waiting for confirmation of the ‘recovery road map’ timeline has also forced most of these requests to be sent at short notice, and many event organisers are looking to use the same outdoor spaces.

“Parks and green spaces are especially busy with many previously indoor activities taking place outside during the pandemic.

“Councils appreciate the enthusiasm for resuming events, but need to carefully consider all requests to ensure that everyone involved can take part safely.

“Councils are working as fast as they can to process all requests, but need organisers to understand the scale of the challenge they are facing, with public safety the most important criteria to consider for all park users.”

Parkrun added it is “hopeful” runs in Northern Ireland will also be able to return on June 26.

Scotland parkruns are “anticipated” to return on July 3, while a return date for Wales is yet to be confirmed.