Pollok parkrun, Glasgow is cancelled on 15 August 2020: COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Covid 19 Update from parkrun HQ – 7August 2020

Earlier this week we announced we had completed our COVID-19 Framework, describing how events will operate in countries where an underlying level of community infection still remains.

We’d also like to stress that as part of our strategy to return we took the decision to separate defining the way events should be reopened, from deciding the date when that process would be considered safe.

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.

Please do listen to our COVID-19 Framework discussion, available now in this week’s episode of Free Weekly Timed.

And you can find our COVID-19 Framework in the Volunteer Hub.

Many thanks for your continued patience, understanding, and support.

 

Covid 19 Update from parkrun HQ 4th August 2020

Over the past week we’ve continued to make positive progress and are excited to share a significant step forward today.

We have now completed our operating framework describing how parkrun events around the world will operate in countries where there remains an underlying level of COVID-19. This has been achieved through closely working together with a number of stakeholders, including in the UK Sport England and the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Whilst this represents a significant step forward, and provides parkrun countries with a technical COVID-19 framework within which to restart their events, there remains some work to be done prior to any start dates being announced.

In designing our COVID-19 framework we have taken great care to ensure that parkrun events remain simple to deliver, easy to participate in, and that the human interaction we all value so much is not removed in favour of a sterile and constrained environment. 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.

Across the 21 countries where our events remain closed we are now able to present our COVID-19 framework to key stakeholders, landowners, parkrun Ambassadors and event teams, as well as public health experts. As we move forward with a clear operating model, we can now make judgements as to when specific parkrun regions can safely accommodate the return of our events.

We will be publishing the framework on Friday this week, alongside an in-depth discussion around the detail and decision-making processes involved, on the Free Weekly Timed parkrun podcast.

We are getting through this together.

 

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update from parkrun HQ 28th July 2020

As we progress our plans around a return to parkrun, we have been working with various organisations and stakeholders around the world. While the restart of parkrun events in New Zealand was relatively straightforward due to the virus being largely eradicated there, it is clear that this is not likely to be the case in the rest of the world. Therefore any plan to return requires a series of mitigations.

Particularly across Europe, we continue to see the return of outdoor sporting and physical activity events, reflecting the reduced risk of outdoor activities.

We are pleased to be able to announce therefore that we have developed a comprehensive ‘return to parkrun’ planning document and risk assessment. This is the first stage in being able to schedule a return of parkrun events in countries where there remains an underlying level of infection but where public health guidelines would allow outdoor events to take place.

In the UK specifically, where we support over 1,000 events and four-million parkrunners, the Government recently released guidance for the return of mass participation and running events. This was a significant step forward in facilitating our return, and our planning documents and risk assessments have now been sent to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Whilst our proposals to DCMS acknowledge that some alterations will need to be made to parkrun events, we have been careful to ensure that they remain volunteer-friendly and scalable. And, whilst safety will always be our priority, we are committed to maintaining the low barrier event delivery model and the positive element of human interaction at parkrun events.

Once our COVID-19 operating plan is reviewed by DCMS, we will be able to move towards planning a date of return, although this of course still comes with a number of complexities and challenges that also need to be managed, such as ensuring that stakeholders, including landowners, are supportive and able to facilitate events on their properties.

So whilst a lot of work has been done, there is a significant amount ahead of us.

Finally, whilst our preference is still to return to all UK nations at the same time, as devolved guidance in those countries remains unaligned it is increasingly possible that we may see staggered return dates across the home nations.

We will of course be working closely with our wonderful volunteer teams ahead of any planned return to ensure that all the necessary support is in place.

As always, we appreciate your patience and support.

We are getting through this together

 

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update from parkrun HQ 21July 2020

We’ve sought, throughout lockdown, to be consistent and transparent in our communications, and feel that having a scheduled update of our most recent position helps that. We also feel it’s important to maintain a routine, and to ensure that our community and external stakeholders can easily access our most up-to-date position.

Further, whilst the lack of confirmed return dates may appear to indicate that little has changed, significant progress is being made behind the scenes around our operational plans and protocols. This will allow us to return in time, and we continue to collaborate with the relevant bodies and agencies in different parkrun territories around the world.

Over the last week particularly, we’ve seen a number of announcements as governments updated their guidance, and numerous sporting and physical activity groups responded accordingly. In some countries, we have seen the return of small-scale elite and community sports events, with various additional protocols in place.

Importantly, as an independent charity with a global remit, we do not sit under any governing bodies and are therefore responsible for creating our own guidelines to return and, where required, achieving sign-off from relevant public health authorities. This work continues behind the scenes and we’ll share developments publicly as soon as it is appropriate to do so.

At the same time, we continue to gather insight from parkrunners around their intentions and attitudes about returning to parkrun and, as always, decision-making needs to consider the role played by our wonderful volunteer teams.

Thanks for your continued support.

 

Covid 19 Update from parkrun HQ 15July 2020

We’ve now seen parkrun New Zealand take place for the second weekend in a row, and it’s been great to welcome parkrunners back across the country. Pleasingly we’ve not seen attendance negatively affected, and across all metrics we measure (for example age, gender, pre-registration activity levels, finish times) things are largely back to where we were pre-COVID-19. It’s important to note however that New Zealand had eradicated community transmission of COVID-19 before our return, and as we look forward it’s likely that most, if not all, other parkrun countries will reopen without having completely eradicated the virus.

We know that parkrun events are incredibly important public health initiatives in their own right and that, in the future, free-to-enter events with low barriers to delivery and participation will be critical tools in enabling socially-focused physical activity. As communities around the world recover from the impacts of COVID-19 and their associated lockdowns, being active, together, and in the great outdoors will be something we can all benefit from.

Our understanding of the challenges presented by COVID-19 is developing, and public health guidance continues to relax across many parts of the world, allowing more opportunities for physical activity and community events. In turn, we are beginning to bring together our own thoughts around how parkrun events may best reopen safely and appropriately, specifically in countries where a low level of infection remains.

Thanks for your patience. In time, we will publish our principles for reopening parkrun events in these situations, but in advance of that I’d like to reassure you that we will always prioritise the health and wellbeing of our communities. We strive to bring people closer together, not move them apart, and we will always keep things as simple as possible.

We will get through this together

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