Good news – parkrun now has enough landowner permissions to return on June 26

·2-min read
Photo credit: Phil Walter - Getty Images
Photo credit: Phil Walter - Getty Images

Parkrun now has enough permissions from landowners to return on June 26, the weekly 5k organisation has said.

However, that decision is still subject to any changes in the roadmap announced by the Prime Minister on June 14. Parkrun said it would make another statement following any government announcements to confirm their position.

In a statement on the parkrun website, Chief Operating Officer Tom Williams said: 'There is now a strong consensus from landowners and public health officials, right across the country, that the return of parkrun – a free-to-access public health initiative – is vital as we look to improve our physical and mental health in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.'

He added: 'It did, of course, come down to the wire. For example, as recently as yesterday morning, out of 160,000 parkrunners in the North East, 100,000 were registered to an event without permission. Thanks to some incredible work by a number of individuals and organisations, by this morning that number had dropped to 8,000 people, with 94% of North East parkrunners now registered to an event with landowner permission.'

While more than 500 events have received the green light, not all of parkrun's 589 events have permission to return. Williams said parkrun remained 'committed to doing everything we can to work with local event teams and landowners to see if we can secure the permission needed for their return.'

According to The Guardian, parkrun insiders say politicians from all parties – including Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, former Conservative minister David Davis, and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan – as well as public figures like Seb Coe contributed to parkrun's planned return.

Originally planned to return on June 5, parkrun had been forced to delay the resumption of its events. Speaking about the decision to delay at the time, organisers said the situation had fallen 'far short of the critical mass needed to prevent overwhelming’ approved venues.

Nick Pearson, parkrun chief executive, said at the time: 'There has been an inevitability about this delay. Press interest in recent days has helped close the gap [in the number of parkruns that need to get the green light] but the gap was too big to close in such a short period of time.

‘We will continue to work hard with landowners over the coming weeks to secure the permissions needed to return at the end of June. 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.

‘Although it is disappointing not to be able to return on June 5, we are still optimistic that we can return parkrun events to nearly 600 communities across England very soon. We will do everything we can to ensure events restart on June 26.’

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