The organisers of parkrun have announced today that it has been “forced to delay the planned reopening of 5k events in England” next month.
The events had been scheduled to return on Saturday June 5 – and the 13 weekly events across Greater Manchester include a hugely popular run at Heaton Park.
Although more than 250 events do have landowner permission to return, it said this “falls far short of the critical mass needed to prevent overwhelming those that have been give the go ahead”.
With more than three million registered parkrunners across England and around 300,000 people taking part on a typical weekend, they said “opening a small subset of parkruns is not viable.”
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In ongoing discussions, where landowners were withholding permission, parkrun organisers sought clarification on whether permission would be granted for a later date.
It said with a number responding positively, it will now target Saturday June 26 to resume all 5k events across England.
A decision will be made regarding the go ahead for this new date on Friday June 11.
Nick Pearson, parkrun global CEO said: “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.”
He vowed to “do everything we can” to ensure events restart on June 26.
The three-week delay comes as many permission requests got caught up in unnecessary red tape and lengthy internal bureaucracy at a local level, despite widespread support nationally from the UK government, MPs on both sides of Parliament, DCMS and Sport England; and amidst a changing lockdown landscape across the UK that this week saw the reopening of pubs, restaurants and other indoor hospitality.
Many high profile supporters joined the rallying cry for the inclusive, physical activity community events to resume, without any further delays.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, called on London borough councils and other landowners to join him in supporting the return of parkrun.