Parkrun events will be able to restart in council-managed parks and green spaces in Leeds, it’s been confirmed.
It has been well over a year since parkrun took place for adults in Britain, but event organisers in Armley and Bramley Parks are now gearing up for a return under Covid guidelines following the easing of lockdown restrictions.
But the situation nationally may yet delay a return of parkruns in Leeds.
National organisers Parkrun UK have warned the return of parkrun could be “delayed indefinitely” because of the reluctance of many local authorities and private landowners to grant approval for the free 5km runs to come back.
Parkrun UK said ‘reluctance, hesitation and unnecessary red tape threatens to delay the return of parkrun indefinitely’ and will be updating local organisers in Leeds on Friday, 21 May if it is suitable for runs across the UK to restart on 5 June.
In Bramley, organisers are hoping for the 5 June re-start following Leeds Council’s approval.
They are asking people to volunteer to help organise on the day and have launched a fundraising appeal for medical support such as PPE, hand sanitizer and a new defibrillator. People can donate here.
Armley parkrun volunteers are also preparing for a return. They posted on social media:
“Armley parkrun has been given permission to restart our event! This will be on or after 5 June. We will let you know as soon as parkrun UK confirm.We’d like to say a huge thank you to Leeds City Council for allowing us to return and use the park every Saturday morning.”
The council is asking runners and volunteers to contact their relevant Parkrun organisers to find out when events will start once again in individual parks and green spaces.
Councillor Mohammed Rafique, Leeds City Council’s executive member for environment and active lifestyles, said:
“Many of the challenges that we have faced as individuals and a city over the past year due to coronavirus have been truly unprecedented. We remain very proud that our parks and greenspaces have been somewhere that have provided a real boost to the health and wellbeing of so many people.
“Whilst the return of events such as parkrun is undoubtedly great news, it is still really important that we do not become complacent to what still needs to be done to tackle coronavirus. We do therefore politely ask that participants in parkrun events please continue to follow closely the guidance that is in place regarding social distancing and gatherings to not only protect the health and wellbeing of themselves, but others.”
The Guardian reports that nationally, parkrun’s planned return next month “hangs in the balance” as only 27% of the 5km events having been given the green light by landowners.
“As things stand,” parkrun said on Friday (May 14), “the return of the free, weekly, community events hangs in the balance, with organisers confirming that the number of permissions must increase significantly over the next seven days for any of the events to return on Saturday 5 June as planned.”