Hockley Woods parkrun is cancelled on 2021-04-17 – COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
From the beginning of this challenge we have believed in taking a pragmatic and considered approach, that protects the spirit of parkrun, and prioritises the safety of everyone who comes into contact with our events. At the same time, we have developed our understanding of the risks of returning such that we can appropriately balance those against the benefits.
A significant part of developing our understanding is related to the evidence around virus transmission in outdoor settings. As part of that we commissioned Professor Mike Weed of The University of Christ Church and Canterbury, in the UK, to carry out a rapid review of the relevant evidence. You can find the protocol for that work published here, and listen to Mike discuss the protocol in the next episode of the Free Weekly Timed podcast.
Work is continuing behind the scenes to prepare for the return of parkrun. We are in close conversations with government departments and public health bodies across a number of parkrun countries, and we are consistently seeing an agreement that the public health benefits of our events are significant, whilst the risk in terms of virus transmission is relatively small. Our Framework has been consistently positively received, and publicly we are experiencing wide-ranging support for the return of our events. Whilst right now we are not ready to commit to specific dates, we do remain positive that some parkrun countries could reopen before the end of October.
Outside of parkrun there is an increasing case for optimism. Other sport and physical activity events are already returning successfully where they are able to accommodate certain mitigations, and each of those moments represent a small victory and a step toward normality. When you look closely it is clear that the world is moving forward, and that the wonderful human spirit is rising to the challenge. We are also seeing schools return, universities prepare to accept more students than ever before, and the tentative return of spectators to sporting events.
Whilst progress isn’t always obvious, things are moving forward, and there is much to be positive about right now. The return of parkrun events is closer than ever.
Thanks as always for your support and patience.
Chief Operating Officer
Today we are announcing the process not the date, and as such there is no immediate obligation or impact on any parkrun community. However, by publishing our COVID-19 Framework we are better able to progress conversations around when and where our events may be able to return safely.
At the front of our minds has been the importance of not over-burdening volunteers, not presenting significant barriers to participation, not creating precedents we cannot maintain, and not setting unrealistic expectations. Our vision for parkrun events as they reopen is also that, whilst proximity and interaction will be significantly reduced, the essence of parkrun is very much there. Because of this, it may take longer for our events to return in some places, however we have always believed in being patient and protecting the parkrun ethos.
We also wish to clarify that whilst we consider this Framework to be complete, it is very much provisional and as such we welcome feedback from both within and outside of the parkrun community. Aspects or details may still change, and we will continue to provide weekly updates through each parkrun country’s blog page.
We understand that this is a significant moment for parkrun, with longer-term implications for many millions of parkrunners. We are also mindful of the responsibility we have in guiding the parkrun family through these challenging times.
We therefore remain committed to transparency around the decisions we make and why we make them. As such, we are publishing our Framework alongside an in-depth discussion on the Free Weekly Timed podcast that will explain the rationale of the framework in detail. We will also be creating a number of opportunities for members of the parkrun community to ask questions and challenge decisions, starting next week with a further question and answer session on the Free Weekly Timed podcast.
And you can find our COVID-19 Framework in the Volunteer Hub.
In the meantime, why not run a 5k whenever and wherever you can and keep the parkrun spirit alive.
Log your daily run here (Mon-Sun) and get your quickest time added to the (not)parkrun weekly results.