While last week's news was disappointing, we're saving the new planned parkrun return date of 26th June after an impressive campaign to gain the support of landowners
Always keen to look on the bright side, we were hoping that the news on Friday would have had us lacing up our trainers ready to line up at our local parkrun again on 5th June.
Sadly, despite an incredible campaign from parkrun, support from MPs and a fierce squad of runners all encouraging landowners to allow its return, less than half of the 500+ locations in the UK were given the go-ahead, meaning that parkrun is facing another delay before it can restart.
It’s frustrating, we know. According to restrictions, parkrun has been possible since March, and both gyms and classes indoors are now fully allowed. The difficulty lies in the sheer numbers of events that each require individual permission from landowners, organisations or councils. Even if permission is forthcoming, the process of getting a thumbs up can often be a lengthy one. And things can’t progress with only some permissions in place; to avoid overwhelm, most parkruns need to be able to return on the same date.
However, organisers are optimistic that they may be able to get us up and running again by the end of next month, setting a new date of 26th June. And we feel that optimism too; even since we started reporting on this story a few weeks ago, the number of landowner permissions has rocketed. parkrun chief, Nick Pearson, has suggested that it will be able to return if around 80% of venues agree, and with support from the likes of Seb Coe, we’re hopeful that decision makers involved in the process will take notice.
“We will continue to work hard with landowners over the coming weeks to secure the permissions needed to return at the end of June,” says Nick. “We are incredibly grateful to all of the landowners who have granted events permission to return so far, and for the groundswell of support for parkrun over recent days.”
“I firmly believe that the positives of returning to parkrun far outweigh any possible negatives,” said our editor Esther when she spoke to Times Radio last week (02:51:31). “It’s free, it’s sociable, it’s regular, and it offers an inclusive and accessible option to anyone who wants to run. Right now, we need to prioritise our physical and mental health – and parkrun is up there as one of the best things we can do for both of those, every single week.”
You can read more about the latest news, as well as find info on how you can help, on the parkrun website.