As we progress our plans around a return to parkrun, we have been working with various organisations and stakeholders around the world. While the restart of parkrun events in New Zealand was relatively straightforward due to the virus being largely eradicated there, it is clear that this is not likely to be the case in the rest of the world. Therefore any plan to return requires a series of mitigations.
Particularly across Europe, we continue to see the return of outdoor sporting and physical activity events, reflecting the reduced risk of outdoor activities.
We are pleased to be able to announce therefore that we have developed a comprehensive ‘return to parkrun’ planning document and risk assessment. This is the first stage in being able to schedule a return of parkrun events in countries where there remains an underlying level of infection but where public health guidelines would allow outdoor events to take place.
In the UK specifically, where we support over 1,000 events and four-million parkrunners, the Government recently released guidance for the return of mass participation and running events. This was a significant step forward in facilitating our return, and our planning documents and risk assessments have now been sent to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
Whilst our proposals to DCMS acknowledge that some alterations will need to be made to parkrun events, we have been careful to ensure that they remain volunteer-friendly and scalable. And, whilst safety will always be our priority, we are committed to maintaining the low barrier event delivery model and the positive element of human interaction at parkrun events.
Once our COVID-19 operating plan is reviewed by DCMS, we will be able to move towards planning a date of return, although this of course still comes with a number of complexities and challenges that also need to be managed, such as ensuring that stakeholders, including landowners, are supportive and able to facilitate events on their properties.
So whilst a lot of work has been done, there is a significant amount ahead of us.
Finally, whilst our preference is still to return to all UK nations at the same time, as devolved guidance in those countries remains unaligned it is increasingly possible that we may see staggered return dates across the home nations.
We will of course be working closely with our wonderful volunteer teams ahead of any planned return to ensure that all the necessary support is in place.
As always, we appreciate your patience and support.
We are getting through this together,
Chief Operating Officer
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