Government urges councils to ensure parkruns resume

The 500th Norwich Parkrun at Eaton ParkByline: Sonya Duncan(C) Archant 2020

The 500th Norwich Parkrun at Eaton Park. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Norfolk ParkRuns could be fully returning after ministers wrote to all councils in the UK urging them to resume the events.

Parkrun announced on Friday it was delaying reopening the scheme until June 26 in England because not enough councils had given them permission to stage the events.

Despite organised outdoor sport activity being allowed since March 29 without a cap on numbers, the 5km local fun runs still have not been started.

Parkrun UK had initially planned to reopen 5k events in England from Saturday, June 5.

But this has been pushed back by three weeks, despite many events in the county getting landowner permission to stage a run.


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Parkruns in Norwich, Catton, Brundall, Blickling, King's Lynn, Sloughbottom Park, Sheringham, Colney Lane, Loch Neaton, Lowestoft and Lingwood and Hunstanton had all opted in for the June 5 date.

And Brandon and Holkham have still not received the full landowner permission to return, although Thetford has recently been added to the list of all the 5k parkrun events across England set to go ahead.

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In response to the delay, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden have penned a letter to local authorities pointing out how vital physical activity is to the public's mental health.

"Parkrun is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people each weekend and these hugely popular free events are much loved by communities up and down the country," they said.

"We appreciate the pressures that local authorities are under in ensuring requests for organised outdoor sports, such as parkrun, are carefully considered and run safely."

They added: "Organised outdoor sport is exempt from legal gathering limits and can take place with any number of participants, as long as it is undertaken in line with published Covid-secure guidance.

"In the interest of public health they should now restart.

"We look forward to parkrun's return, and hope to join some of the millions of active runners and volunteers personally at our local events in Aldenham and Newark respectively." 

It comes after the Mulbarton parkrun officially folded this month.


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