Since our last parkrun at Dartford Central Park on the 14th March 2020 we have all seen significant changes to our lives as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic.
From all of the team at Dartford parkrun we hope that you and your family, friends are all safe and well, we totally recognise its a very difficult time for everybody.
There are a lot of regulars at Dartford parkrun, who work for the NHS, Emergency Services , Care Homes, Key Workers or volunteering and support the Community. From all of us at Dartford parkrun we thank you so much for everything you are doing to keep us safe and well.
There will be lots of people who will be struggling to cope with the current situation we find ourselves in, so let us do what we can to help, support and be kind to everyone.
I know from experience Dartford parkrun community are very kind and caring people, so if you get the opportunity and can afford it, our local foodbanks could do with some donations and support at this time
I visited Dartford Central Park on Saturday at 9am for my daily exercise and dog walking. It was really strange not being there with the regulars from the early morning set up team and not to see everyone chatting, having fun and getting ready to participate in a parkrun.
Sad to see the CPA Clubhouse closed and not its normal bustling location on a Saturday morning.It will be good to see Tony and Noush open up the Clubhouse when they are allowed to and be as supportive as ever.
It was a great morning and lovely to see (from a distance!) some of our parkrun regulars independently doing their daily exercise -Tracy Daniels, Martin Ritson and Brent Reid. It was also good to maintain contact with the early dog walking community and regular park users whom we normally chat to as we do early morning set up. They were all asking (nicely!) about parkrun and when it will start again.
Despite there being no actual parkrun scheduled at the moment for obvious reasons there are still a few things going on behind the scenes that I felt it would be good to keep you updated, so you have the official position from parkrun rather than rumours and misinformation.
Parkrun HQ have sent out the following COVID 19 update which you may have not seen and may answer some of your questions about the reopening of parkrun:-
Thanks again to all the event teams and ambassadors who have generously given us their time over the last few weeks, and shared the challenges they are facing at local level around the world. We have now spoken directly to over 700 of those volunteers and continue to gain valuable insight.
Based on those conversations there are three key points we would like to share in this week’s update.
Reopening of parkrun Nationally
Firstly, the decision to re-open any parkrun country will be made by parkrun Global (the UK-based charity) in collaboration with staff or senior volunteers in that country, and alongside relevant and local public health guidance. All public announcements of parkrun countries reopening (or not) will be made firstly through this weekly update. Anything you see outside of this channel is not necessarily the official position of parkrun, and we will not be commenting on speculation or rumours.
Secondly, we continue to see governments release greater detail around how they plan to relax restrictions in their region. In some cases this is, understandably, leading to questions from the parkrun community with regards where parkrun may fit into those timelines.
At this moment we do not see any country we operate in presenting guidelines that would reasonably accommodate parkrun events in the near future. Should that change this will be the first place we make any comment.
Importantly, we will not consider opening parkrun countries anywhere where there is even a small chance of exceeding participant limits for public gatherings at a single event. Also, at this time, we are not considering starting events where doing so would mean participants or volunteers are required to maintain a certain distance between each other.
Thirdly, in most countries we operate in it is likely to be several months before we consider it appropriate to reopen our events. By then, the world’s understanding of this virus will be very different, as will society’s feelings about it. As such we do not believe it sensible to comment on the many social distancing or hygiene-based suggestions currently being proposed as ways to either get parkrun up and running as soon as possible or to mitigate any risks when we do return.
To reiterate a point from a previous update, in all instances we will be taking a cautious approach to re-opening our events. We will only be doing so where both that country’s specific public health guidelines comfortably allow, and where we can be confident that our volunteer teams will not be placed under undue pressure.
Thanks for your continued patience, understanding, and support.(parkrun HQ)
I have also caught up with the Event Directors for Dartford Juniors and Dartford Heath, our Run Directors and the early morning set up team at Dartford , all are very keen to get started agian.
We should be given about two to three weeks notice from parkrun Global agreeing to restart when the time is right , we will then have to engage with Dartford Council and have permissions in place first , irrespective of parkrun Global saying we can start.
Dartford Council as the landowners will have the final say if we can use the park. We have an excellent relationship with them and at the correct time I would envisage no problems from them as long as we follow any Government or local guidance.
Keep up with your exercise wherever and however you are doing it, I expect lots of PB's when we are back!!!
There is plenty of support out there to keep you motivated for example - parkrun HQ pages, Joe Wicks !!, look at our local running clubs internet/Facebook pages- Central Park Athletics, or Dartford Road Runners all have little ways to keep their members motivated and running.
Take care and stay safe, hopefully see you all soon in the park.