Ministers call on council leaders to allow Parkrun return

Community Secretary Robert Jenrick and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden have written to all councils in the UK urging them to allow weekly park runners to resume in their areas.

Although organized outdoor sports activities have been allowed with no limit on numbers since March 29, the 5km local fun runs have still not been restarted due to reluctance from councils and other landowners.

Parkrun announced Friday that it would delay his return until June 26 in England and Northern Ireland as not enough councils had given permission to host the events.

It is said that 250 locations in England gave them permission to run on June 5th, but that was not enough to prevent overcrowding and the participation of people from other areas.

The organizers were hoping that the runs would resume on July 3rd in Scotland and waited to confirm a date for the reopening in Wales.

The letter from Mr. Dowden and Mr. Jenrick pointed out the importance of physical activity to the mental health of the public.

They said, “Parkrun is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people every weekend, and these hugely popular free events are very much loved by communities across the country.

“We appreciate the pressure local authorities are under to ensure that requests for organized outdoor sports like parkrun are carefully considered and run safely.”

They added: “Organized outdoor sports are exempt from the legal restrictions on gathering and can take place with any number of participants, as long as it is conducted in accordance with published Covid-safe guidelines.”

Mr Jenrick, MP for Newark in Nottinghamshire and Mr Dowden, MP for Hertsmere in Hertfordshire said the public concern over delays in Parkrun “underscores the importance of these events to people across the country”.

Around 150 landowners, including a number of local authorities, have either denied Parkrun permission to return or ignored the organizers’ correspondence, the letter said.

It added, “Parkrun requires approximately 80% of parkruns to be able to act to prevent people traveling across the country from traveling from non-parkrunn areas to those who are.”

The letter said that research has shown mass events like marathons and fun runs are safe to run, adding, “In the interests of public health, they should start over now.”

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