Return of Parkruns delayed over fears of 'overwhelming' events

Eaton Park Parkrun in Norwich.

Eaton Park Parkrun in Norwich. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

The return of Parkruns in Norfolk has been pushed back as not enough events around the country will be able to go ahead.

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 Norfolk and Waveney getting landowner permission to stage a run.

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, as had more than 250 events across England.

The Lowestoft Parkrun, where Jaymen Woolston's family took part to raise awareness and collected for

Runners will have to wait until they can take part in the Lowestoft Parkrun. - Credit: Denise Bradley

But a lower-than-expected response nationwide – including no green light from Holkham, Thetford and Brandon and the cancellation of Mulbarton parkrun – sparked concerns for Parkrun UK that the number of approved events "falls far short of the critical mass needed to prevent overwhelming those that have been given the go ahead".

Parkrun Global chief executive Nick Pearson 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.

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"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.

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

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

"We will do everything we can to ensure events restart on June 26."

There are three million registered parkrunners across England, and 300,000 taking part on an average weekend.

But those keen to slip on their trainers and pound the Parkrun course will be forced to wait for a few more weeks.

Thetford Parkrun organiser Melanie Sturman.

Thetford Parkrun organiser Melanie Sturman. - Credit: Victoria Pertusa

In a statement, Parkrun UK said the delay came about 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".

It comes after the Mulbarton Parkrun officially folded last week.