Parkrun UK has announced its plans for junior events to return on April 11 and senior 5km runs to come back on June 5 in England.
Following this week's Government announcement regarding the easing of Covid-19 restrictions in England, organisers of the popular free weekend runs have revealed plans for a slightly adapted return.
However, as the devolved governments have separate exit roadmaps, parkrun says it has no yet been able to pinpoint dates relevant to each of the other home nations.
The junior 2km events, which take place on Sunday, will come back in the second weekend of April but only for 4-10-year-olds. Organisers decided that keeping the upper limit at the usual 14 could potentially lead to too many taking part as some of the older children, who would have been eligible to run the senior event, could choose to run with the juniors. The 11-14-year-olds will be able to run with the juniors once the senior runs are back on.
Parkrun foresees likely more than 90% of the senior 5km runs returning in June. Organisers say that, although an earlier return would theoretically have been possible according to government guidelines, it has been necessary to consider public confidence, land-owner permissions and other stakeholders.
Their statement reads: "Based on the published guidance, our 5k events could technically return from Saturday 4 April. However, due to the other national restrictions in place, the expected level of infection at that time, and a number of our 5k events regularly exceeding 1,000 participants, we do not believe it would be appropriate for them to return this early."
Local event organisers are urged not to take any action at present but to await further advice.
Regarding Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, parkrun states: "It’s important to note that the roadmap presented on Monday applies to England only and whilst we are excited to begin working towards returning events over the coming months, we are not forgetting about our other UK communities in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. As things stand we are unable to pinpoint a date for returning either junior or 5k parkrun across these three devolved nations, but we continue to work closely with relevant authorities and stakeholders to understand when it may be appropriate."
The last senior parkrun events to take place in the UK were on March 13 2020. Plans for the series of 731 events to return last October were abandoned the month before due to rising coronavirus restrictions.