News - 22nd November 2021

Scanning from mobile devices


Since the personal barcode system was introduced in 2009 over 60 million instances of participation have been recorded at parkrun events around the world.


Over that time we have insisted that in order to record a time, all finishers must present a printed barcode (either in the form of a paper printout or an official wristband, card, or tag).


This has been critical to the efficient scanning process at the end of each event, and maximises the chances of participants carrying easily-accessible emergency contact (ICE) details.


However, as technology has advanced in recent years, we have seen an increase in the number of parkrunners either not understanding or challenging this rule, and presenting our event teams with digital copies of their personal barcodes.


All the while, we’ve asked volunteers to stick to the principle of ‘no printed barcode, no result’.


We are committed to looking after our volunteers and minimising any areas for potential conflict. In recent months we’ve been reflecting on whether we are doing enough to protect participants, and whether, in this instance, we need to update our operational processes.


Given the Virtual Volunteer app does successfully read barcodes presented on a phone screen, and has drastically reduced queuing / scanning time, we recognise that it is increasingly difficult for volunteers to refuse to scan digital barcodes, and in some instances it has become a cause for unnecessary frustration and hostility toward them.


We therefore feel that the most appropriate and responsible action for us to take is to allow (where an individual is unable to present a printed barcode) personal barcodes to be scanned from mobile devices.


We will continue to ask that parkrunners bring a scannable barcode with them in order to record a time, and ideally carry it on their person whilst participating so that their ICE details are easily accessible if needed.


From Saturday 27 November, however, in instances where an individual presents a digital version this should be accepted.


Thanks as always for your continued support.


Tom Williams

parkrun Global Chief Operating Officer


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