Safeguarding of young children at parkrun

As you will know we welcome children at parkrun. We love to see families running together and having fun, but we do have a minimum age of 4 and we insist that all children under 11 are accompanied by a responsible adult at all times. These rules are a requirement of UK Athletics who sanction our events and under whose insurance we operate. The rules are in place to protect the children, and also to protect the other runners and volunteers.
Whilst the official guidance from UK Athletics does not permit children under 11 to race the 5k distance, they are content to sanction the participation of children under the age of 11 in parkrun UK events as long as their participation is primarily for fun, being free from undue pressure from parents, other adults or their peers, and in the full understanding they are participating in a timed run rather than a race. 5 kilometres is a long way for small children, and we want them to enjoy it and see parkrun and running in a positive light. I’m sure many of us remember being forced to run round the school field as punishment when we were in school, something that put a lot of people off running for life, and we really don’t want children to see running and parkrun in the same way.