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Parkrun’s June 5 return ‘hangs in the balance’ with only a quarter of courses given green light

Parkrun’s long-awaited June 5 return ‘hangs in the balance’ with only a quarter of courses in England given green light from landowners… with announcement set to be made in a week

  • Parkrun set a date of June 5 for the return of the Saturday morning 5km events
  • But, only 161 of 589 venues have been the given the go-ahead from landowners
  • Parkrun will make an statement on May 21 about the viability of resuming in June

MPs have been urged to avoid a ‘national embarrassment’ by encouraging landowners to give the green light for parkrun to return.

The future of the popular Saturday morning 5km event ‘hangs in the balance’ as only 161 of 589 venues in England have been granted permission to stage the events ahead of its scheduled resumption on June 5.

Parkrun organisers have set a deadline of one week for more landowners to come on board otherwise the mass-participation phenomenon, which has been suspended since March 2020, risks being delayed ‘indefinitely’.

Parkrun had set a date of June 5 for the resumption of the Saturday morning 5km events 

That has led to intervention from Conservative MP David Davis, who Friday wrote to every MP of a constituency where a parkrun event has not yet been given the go ahead.

In a letter seen by Sportsmail, Davis writes: ‘A significant number of landowners (a mix of local authorities and some private landowners) are putting unacceptable and potentially unlawful barriers in the way of parkrun returning.

‘Whether this obstruction comes from a misunderstanding of the roadmap at a local level or a nervousness or reluctance to reopen until all restrictions are lifted, the inconsistency of decision making could prevent parkrun from returning at all.

 However, only 161 of 589 venues have so far been the given the greenlight from landowners

‘Personally, I would consider it a national embarrassment if we allow this situation to stop the return of public health initiatives like parkrun. At present, it is likely that we will see the reopening of pubs, clubs, casinos, large scale indoor events, and others ahead of this national public health initiative. That is nonsensical.

‘As a result, I am asking for your urgent help. Please reach out to your local government political representatives and chief executives to request that they urgently support the return of parkrun on June 5.’

Parkrun will decide by May 21 whether it is still viable to return on June 5. They fear that if they go ahead with only a handful of courses, there could be overcrowding at those sites.

Parkrun will make an announcement on May 21 about the viability of resuming on June 5

Parkrun will make an announcement on May 21 about the viability of resuming on June 5

A statement from parkrun said: ‘Despite legal permission to return and support from Government, Public Health England and Sport England, a combination of obstacles including misunderstanding the Government’s roadmap, reluctance, hesitation and unnecessary red tape threatens to delay the return of parkrun indefinitely.

‘Parkrun UK must make a decision two weeks ahead of the planned return on whether restarting events on 5 June is viable.

‘With all other sports returning, alongside the reopening of indoor dining and hospitality, further roadblocks to parkrun’s return feel unreasonable, with non-response, red tape and internal administrative processes standing in the way of the inclusive, community physical activity.’

Parkrun first started in 2004 and has since attracted seven million participants at 2,200 venues across 22 countries. The Sunday morning 2km junior event successfully returned last month.