Health chiefs back return of parkrun - but urge people not to be 'parkrun tourists'

Health chiefs have moved to reassure runners – and give them guidance – ahead parkrun returning to the North East.

Thursday, 10th June 2021, 3:32 pm
A previous parkrun event
A previous parkrun event

As previously reported, the popular 5k events are due to start up again on Saturday, June 26 – having been pushed back from the original planned date of June 5.

However, not all events are returning straight away, only those with permission from landowners.

A full list of parkruns which will be starting up on June 10 can be found at: https://blog.parkrun.com/uk/2021/04/30/current-landowner-permissions/

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Now public health directors from the LA7 councils of South Tyneside, Sunderland, Durham, North Tyneside, Newcastle, Northumberland and Gateshead have issued a joint statement backing parkrun’s return – but also urging caution.

“Following discussions with organisers and thorough reviews of risk assessments, we’re pleased to be able to support the return of parkrun events to the region,” it reads.

Organisers have worked hard to put in place measures that keep attendees safe, and we’re delighted that residents will once again be able to participate in these events and enjoy the physical and mental health benefits they offer.

“We know it is much safer for people to be with others outdoors where the virus is less likely to spread, but we must urge participants to remain cautious at all times to protect themselves and others, particularly while our region continues to see a steady rise in Covid-19 cases.”

The health chiefs say they have worked worked with organisers to provide “a consistent approach for our communities, with each location being assessed individually”.

Parkrun ‘tourism’ is a popular part of the 5k races for runners, with some aiming to try as many different events as they can.

But the LA7 public health directors have urged people not to travel to a parkrun if there was another nearer event they could join.

The statement read: “All sites will have similar start times and set ups across the region so there is no need to make long journeys to different parkrun sites.

"Please minimise travel and attend your nearest Parkrun event. You can find this by visiting www.parkrun.org.uk

“How you get there is also important. The safest way remains to walk or cycle, but if you’re driving then avoid sharing cars with people outside your household, and when using public transport, make sure you follow the vast safety measures operators have put in place."

Chiefs also took the chance to remind people of the standard advice: “Maintaining the Hands, Face, Space, Fresh Air guidance remains essential wherever you are, as does making sure you self-isolate and book a PCR test if you develop even the mildest symptoms of the virus.

“If you feel at all unwell, please do not attend these or any other events. Even those without symptoms should make use of free Lateral Flow Device tests, twice a week where possible, to ensure people aren’t spreading the virus without realising.

“We all welcome the return of events that have been lost to the pandemic, but we still have a duty to stay safe, and minimise the further spread of the virus.”

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