From Tom Williams, Chief Operating Officer, parkrun Global
Over the last few months we’ve attempted to keep things as simple as possible, to focus on the critical tasks required, and to provide clarity around our decisions.
This week we’d like to take the opportunity to revisit part of our strategy for reopening parkrun.
As countries relax their respective lockdown restrictions we find situations where certain events could operate (legally and safely) but are having to wait for other events (that could be many thousands of miles away) to be in the same position.
For example, in Poland many (but not all) parkrun events have attendance records someway short of the 150 participant limit currently allowed by their Government.
Some states of Australia have relaxed restrictions such that parkrun could return, whilst this isn’t the case in other states. The Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, and the Falkland Islands may be considered technically able to start, but the UK as a whole is some way from it being appropriate to relaunch our events.
Reopening specific regions within parkrun countries brings with it many complexities, not least the need to understand more localised public health guidance, respond accordingly, and ensure that we don’t create issues for neighbouring regions. As such, at this time, our policy remains that we will only open parkrun events where we can safely and appropriately open every event in that country.
We would particularly like to thank those events waiting patiently, and to assure them all that we are mindful of their situations and will continue to review our position on this as time progresses.
We are also being asked, across the UK, Ireland, and Australia, whether junior parkrun events (2k events on Sundays for those aged 4 to 14) could reopen before the Saturday 5k events. This is something we’ve looked at closely and, whilst we wouldn’t rule anything out, it’s unlikely that this is something we would do.
Again, there would be many things to consider, and we understand how children are much less vulnerable to the disease, but we know that for every 100 children in attendance at junior events there are around 110 adults (volunteering, spectating, walking or running).
Also, in the UK for example, there are nearly 300,000 children (aged 4 to 14) registered to Saturday 5k events, who could switch to junior events, and a significant increase in participants could have a hugely detrimental effect on what is a delicate operating model responsible for safeguarding very young children.
Thanks, as always, for your patience, understanding, and support. We continue to monitor the situation globally, and are more confident by the day that parkrun will return across all parkrun countries.
We are getting through this, together.
Chief Operating Officer
Links to previous updates:
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 07 April
Previous updates were posted on one page which was revised whenever necessary as the situation worsened