2023 saw changes to a number of the parkrun ‘special day’ dates in the Nordics, with Norway moving their day to May 1st (Labour Day), Finland to Ascension Day (Helatorstai/ Kristi himmelsfärdsdag/ himmelfartsdag) and Denmark to June 5th (Grundlovsdag/ Constitution Day). Sweden retained their special day on June 6th, Sweden’s Nationaldag.
Previously the days for Norway and Finland were set on Christmas Day and had never been used, and only 1 event in Denmark had traditionally used their special day on the same date. The new dates proved to be extremely popular, with 300 people attending in Finland, 500 in Norway and close to 1500 in both Denmark and Sweden, with the pull of the ‘parkrun double’ bringing in many tourists from overseas.
In particular there were a couple of events which had extremely large turnouts with Amager Strandpark having 644 participants on June 5th and Växjösjön 727 participants the day after. Thanks to some great efforts from local volunteer teams, the events were successful, and created some epic memories for everyone attending, but at the same time it hugely stretched the capacity of teams used to handling 20 to 50 parkrunners each week. All indications suggest that the numbers will continue to grow in future years.
In addition it raised some tricky questions around potentially requiring special permits for these larger events (and the implications of a serious incident occurring). Indeed, this was the reason for Malmö Ribersborg parkrun not hosting a special day event this year, as any permit application would have been subject to a fee (which is not in line with parkrun delivery model), and may have involved additional requirements that could not be met.
As an organisation we have a duty of care to our event teams and our volunteers. Given the above, we have given some serious thought about what we can do to mitigate the likelihood of events experiencing extremely high numbers again, but still keeping the concept of a ‘special day’ for our parkrun countries, which are fun and help to bring people together from across the parkrun world.
We have decided that the best course of action is therefore to have a joint, Nordics ‘special day’, which means that all events in Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway would all have the possibility to have an extra event on this day. Outside of Easter and Christmas there is actually one day in the year which is a holiday day across all four Nordic countries – Ascension Day (Helatorstai/ Kristi himmelsfärdsdag/ himmelfartsdag). This is always on a Thursday, 40 days after Easter, usually in mid to late May. In 2024 this will be Thursday 9th May.
By spreading out potential visitors across the Nordic parkruns, we hope to significantly reduce the risk of teams being overwhelmed. It would obviously still be up to every event to decide whether they would want to host a parkrun on this ‘special day’, and we would encourage people to let the event teams make up their minds about this in their own time.
We see this as a positive change and look forward to parkrunners in the Nordics enjoying the opportunity to join their local events on this day, together with visitors from other parkrun countries who will come to visit our beautiful events. We hope that this early announcement of changes will minimise any inconvenience for those already planning trips for 2024.
No changes have been made to the dates of ‘special days’ in any other countries.
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