There are just a few days to go before this Saturday’s reopening of Cape Pembroke Lighthouse parkrun on the Falkland Islands, as well as all three events in Australia’s Northern Territory. It’s an incredibly exciting time for all of us and I’m sure I can speak on behalf of the entire parkrun family when I wish them luck for a smooth return on Saturday morning.
In other parts of the parkrun world things continue to change, mostly in a positive direction, and we hope a number of other countries are soon able to accommodate parkrun events once again.
In England, we continue working towards a late October reopening, and conversations are ongoing with landowners and key stakeholders across the country. Our announcement last Monday was received incredibly positively and the excitement with which people viewed their events returning was, at times, overwhelming.
We do understand however that the following day’s announcement by the UK Government that social gatherings were being restricted, alongside an increase in positive test results, has caused anxiety for some people. We would therefore like to reassure you that, as clarified by Sport England, many forms of gathering (including parkrun events specifically) are exempt from these guidelines, and we also continue to monitor underlying levels and impact of COVID-19 infection.
Importantly, one of the main reasons we stated that “we intend to reopen parkrun and junior parkrun events in England toward the end of October” was that we needed the space to consult with landowners and local public health officials, and to allow ourselves time to adjust for changing situations.
Finally, it’s incredibly important to understand, and value, the public health benefits of parkrun events reopening. A decision requiring consideration to balance the benefits of that against the evidence available on the risk of infection.
There are few, if any, identified cases of COVID-19 infection occurring during participation in organised physical activity events, despite significant evidence of disease transmission in other settings. Yet, at the same time, the significant public health benefits of community-based, socially-focused physical activity events are universally accepted.
One of the many excellent articles we saw last week in the UK, discussing the health benefits of parkrun, was written by Sam Wollaston in The Guardian and can be found here.
Thanks, as always, for your continued support,
Chief Operating Officer
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