Last Saturday we were delighted to see parkrun events in Japan and Western Australia restart. Alongside parkruns currently operating in New Zealand, other Australian states and Territories, and the Falkland Islands, we saw 89 events welcome more than 8,500 walkers, joggers and runners, with over 900 volunteers, almost one hundred of whom were volunteering with us for the very first time.
It is absolutely heartwarming to see some of our parkrun communities coming back together again. Bit by bit, we are getting there.
This weekend parkruns in Guernsey, Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and in the Isle of Man will also reopen, taking us to more than 100 events happening across the globe. And we are pleased to announce the expected return of parkrun events in Namibia, on 14 November.
We continue in conversations with our stakeholders, global staff team, local teams and volunteers to progress, where we can, any further opportunities to bring parkruns back in our other territories.
In the northern hemisphere, as winter encroaches, many of our regions are experiencing a rise in new infections and, in turn, an increase in restrictions. Our commitment to monitoring the situation remains, as does our work with relevant government and public health bodies to make the right decision at the right time; to bring parkrun back to those communities where it is safe and sensible to do so, and where current guidelines allow.
This week will mark the end of #parktoberfest, and it’s been wonderful to see so many parkrunners coming together to be active, social and outdoors, logging significant numbers of (not)parkruns. More than 6,000 people who have yet to complete an actual parkrun have now logged a (not)parkrun. I’d like to personally welcome them to the parkrun family.
With the passing of each day we see change across all 22 countries in which we operate. Our mission to make the world a healthier and happier place holds as firm as ever, and our belief that parkrun has a significant role to play in mental and physical wellbeing continues to drive us every day.
Thanks, as always,
You might recall the proposal published on 8September advising that parkrun would restart in England towards the end of October. That timing is now no longer considered appropriate. The situation in Scotland in relation to parkrun remains unchanged in that the current rules do not permit parkrun to restart.
Stay with us though we will get there in the end !
You might have seen on TV or heard on the radio that parkrun HQ have announced that they propose to restart parkrun in England towards the end of October 2020. However it should be noted that this applies only to England at this time.
Quote from Tom Williams Chief Operating Officer at parkrun Global
'Unfortunately, as things stand, and due to current restrictions across Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, we are not able to commit to the same timeline across the other Home Nations. However, we are aware of the implications of only opening in England and are continuing our work to overcome the challenges that this presents. We are also as committed as ever to opening our events outside of England as soon as possible.'
Thanks for your patience - we will get there !
Those of you who have followed these weekly updates since early April will know that, whilst we wouldn’t rule anything out, our initial preference has been that we would only start entire parkrun countries at a time. This was based on a number of factors, but largely that the complexity of supporting numerous varied regulations, as smaller regions updated their guidance (often on a daily basis), was not practical or scalable.
We also felt that, over time, countries themselves would tend toward single strategies being applied to their entire populations. It is now clear, however, that this will not necessarily be the case and that sticking to our ‘entire country at a time’ preference may result in some locations being delayed considerably and unnecessarily. This despite it being safe for them to operate, and with their local guidelines allowing them to do so. Therefore, having taken time to consider the practicalities and logistics, we are now looking to start the process of reopening sub-nationally in some locations.
For example, Cape Pembroke Lighthouse parkrun in the Falkland Islands and parkrun events in Australia’s Northern Territory will likely be among the first to restart. These events are geographically remote, difficult to travel to, and have clear and specific local guidelines that permit us to return.
At the same time we are also exploring opportunities across more complex situations. For example, within some countries we are seeing significant differences between infection levels and associated public health guidelines (such as across the US). And in others, whilst there isn’t necessarily a significant variation with regards to the prevalence of the virus, different regions are still choosing alternative routes forward (such as the four home nations of the United Kingdom).
Importantly, and as has always been the case, we will not reopen events where their delivery (in line with our published COVID-19 Framework) does not fit clearly within government or public health guidelines for their region or may result in breaching participant limits. Also, where guidance is ambiguous and clarity is required, we will take the time to seek that clarity before moving forward.
Thanks, as always, for your support and patience.