News - 5th March 2021

Restarting in England – weekly update 5 March


As part of our plans to restart parkrun and junior parkrun across England, we’ll be publishing a UK-specific update every Friday. Here’s this week’s.


Since our announcement last Friday of our intention to, across England, reopen junior parkrun events from 11 April onwards, and all 5k parkrun events on 5 June, we’ve been overwhelmed by the incredibly positive response from the parkrun community.


We’ve never seen anything like it, and it really has been a powerful reminder of the true impact that our events have on the communities they serve.


Whilst the progress we discuss below relates only to events in England, we have not forgotten about our parkrun UK communities in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. We are in frequent dialogue with ambassadors and authorities in those countries, and whilst there isn’t any clarity yet on when we might be able to return there, we remain optimistic that circumstances may change in the near future.


Going forward, we will publish this UK-specific weekly update every Friday, keeping ambassadors, event teams, parkrun communities, and landowners informed on the progress we are making towards events restarting.




junior parkrun


Over the next couple of weeks we are prioritising the work required to reopen junior events across England, primarily because their start date is eight weeks before 5k parkrun events.


On Monday we wrote to all 289 junior parkrun events in England asking them if they would like to return in April, and as of today, we have heard back from 155 teams who are keen to do so. We are working closely with all of them in order to complete the various tasks required to reopen, up to and including contacting landowners and asking for permission. Whilst it’s early days and there’s clearly a long way to go, we already have some permissions in place, and therefore some junior parkrun events provisionally scheduled to take place on Sunday 11 April.


Whilst it’s not compulsory for junior parkrun events to return on 11 April, in order for them to do so, we will need to have completed all of the required tasks related to reopening, no later than Thursday 25 March. Where we are not in possession of landowner permission by Thursday 25 March, the next available start date for an event will be Sunday 18 April, and so on, on a rolling week-by-week basis.


We will do everything we can in order to support all junior parkrun teams who wish to return on 11 April. We really do need those teams to respond to our emails as soon as possible, helping us to progress things in time to hit our Thursday 25 March deadline.




5k parkrun


For the moment, we are asking that event teams do not contact their landowners regarding permission to return. 


We will manage this process centrally, as we are with junior parkrun, and requests will be supported by significant documentation. Over the next few weeks, we will be in touch with teams regarding the reopening process for 5k events.


Meanwhile, our 5k events have been closed for almost 12 months, and there are natural concerns around people’s desire or ability to return as volunteers. As such, earlier this week we wrote to around 30,000 parkrunners who had previously volunteered at 5k events in England, including all event directors and anyone who had carried out the Run Director role in the 12 months prior to March 2020.


We have received over 12,000 completed surveys within 24 hours, the best response rate to any survey we have ever conducted. And whilst we are still collecting responses, and analysing the data by region, event, and volunteer role, an amazing 91% of respondents have said that they will either definitely (50%), likely (27%), or maybe (14%), volunteer at their 5k events in June.




As we look forward there is much to be positive about.

Thanks for your continued support.


Helen Hood

Head of Event Delivery

parkrun UK

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