Cardiff runners protest rules that currently stop parkruns taking place

·1-min read
Photo credit: vitranc - Getty Images
Photo credit: vitranc - Getty Images

Runners in Cardiff gathered in Bute Park on Saturday in an attempt to persuade the Welsh Government to lift its ban on gatherings of more than 50 people.

A group of 15 runners took part in a ‘Not a parkrun’ 5K run through Bute Park along the usual parkrun route. The aim was to highlight to the government the importance of group exercise to people’s physical and mental wellbeing.

Welsh restrictions mean that, although parkruns are not directly banned, it’s illegal for groups of more than 50 people to gather. Most parkruns see hundreds of runners take part, so organisers decided it was safer to cancel the free weekly events across the country. This is despite the fact that parkruns are still going ahead in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. As a result, many Welsh parkrunners have been partaking in a spot of parkrun tourism by travelling across the border to take part in English parkruns.

Photo credit: Colin Phillips
Photo credit: Colin Phillips

Cardiff parkrunner Andrew Fairclough organised the protest run, and said he was hoping First Minister Mark Drakeford would take notice. 'At times it does feel political when you see England, Scotland and Northern Ireland doing something different and Wales does this,' he said. 'Let's not punish the people who just want to exercise together.'

He added that the protest was not about rebelling or causing problems, but rather to highlight the importance of group exercise. 'Throughout the pandemic, I believe, from what we’ve been told about coronavirus, that the implications, in terms of outcomes, are better for people who are fitter and healthier.'

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