It is with a somewhat heavy heart that I find myself typing this message to all, for in fact it is aimed at the parents/responsible adults of under 11s and even then to a very limited number of those. To explain despite the postings on Facebook, in New Runner's Briefings and by RDs every week there are some parents who continue to ignore the Rule about under 11s and just want to flout the requirement. They simply cannot be ignorant of it.
The Rule is very simple: Under 11s must run WITH a parent/responsible adult. WITH means WITH. WITH means accompanied by. WITH does not mean somewhere on the same 5km course. WITH does not mean the parent dropping the child off or deciding to spectate. To this I have to add that it applies to all under 11s. A child aged 10 is an Under 11.
Yes it may well have an impact. If the adult has a child that is running slower than the adult, the adult must slow down. If the under 11 is faster then either one of two things have to happen - the adult speeds up or the child slows. If an adult attends with two children then the run will have to be at the pace of the slowest. However view these as positives: you're running with your child/children. You're exercising together in the open and not on the latest computer console. The child might make you faster, certainly healthier.
I'm sorry if this is sounding too dictatorial but it is a requirement of parkrun both for Child Protection Issues and Insurance purposes.
If you think about it though there are only 3 Rules:
(i) at Eastleigh we run 3 laps;
(ii) runners may run with a dog on a short lead;
(iii) under 11's must run with a parent/responsible adult.
If you only run 2 laps then the result is voided - so unfortunately it will be with under 11s being left running alone. This is very much a last resort but the under 11's result will be removed and the parent can explain to the child why that has happened.
We have had a report in recent weeks of a parent being upset with a child as the child was running too slow, and reports of children being left. This cannot continue.
For those of you who thought there was a fourth Rule #DFYB; well it's no Barcode no Result - not a run issue but a results issue. You can always run and have a free one on us.
I hope to see you all next Saturday, suitably attired should you wish to.
(Eastleigh parkrun Event Director)