Council chiefs say they are working with parkrun organisers on 'safe return' of events in County Durham
Council chiefs say they are working closely with organisers to allow the “safe return” of Parkrun events across County Durham.
Parkruns, which take place outdoors across the country, have had legal permission to return from March, as part of Step 1 of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown.
However this week, Parkrun UK announced it has been forced to delay the planned reopening of all 5k events in England on Saturday, June 5.
Although more than 250 events have landowner permission to return, parkrun says this falls far short of the critical mass needed to prevent overwhelming those that have been given the green light.
Several events in the North East already have landowner permission including South Shields, Hartlepool, Horden, Darlington, Spennymoor, Shildon, Wallsend, Whitley Bay, and Druridge Bay, Blyth, Tyne Green and Newbiggin-by-the-sea in Northumberland.
But with more than three million registered parkrunners across England, and around 300,000 people taking part on a typical weekend, organisers say that opening a small subset of parkruns is not viable.
In ongoing discussions, where landowners were withholding permission, parkrun organisers sought clarification on whether permission would be granted for a later date.
Parkrun UK will now target Saturday, June 26, to resume all 5k events across England and a decision will be made regarding the go ahead for this new date on Friday, June 11.
Popular parkrun events in County Durham include events in the Durham City area, Chester-le-Street and Sedgefield.
Durham County Council has confirmed that work is ongoing with organisers to allow the safe return of events locally.
Susan Robinson, Durham County Council’s head of corporate property and land, said: “Although no permissions have been given for park runs in County Durham at this current time, we are working closely with park run organisers to facilitate the safe return of these popular events in the near future.”
Nick Pearson, parkrun Global CEO, added: “We will continue to work hard with landowners over the coming weeks to secure the permissions needed to return at the end of June.
“We are incredibly grateful to all of the landowners who have granted events permission to return so far, and for the groundswell of support for parkrun over recent days.
“Although it is disappointing not to be able to return on June 5, we are still optimistic that we can return parkrun events to nearly 600 communities across England very soon.
“We will do everything we can to ensure events restart on June 26.”