Run­ners in de­spair

Parkrun put on hold again

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Jeremy Wil­son

The planned re­turn of parkrun has been de­layed in­def­i­nitely fol­low­ing the spike in Covid-19 in­fec­tions, but event or­gan­is­ers have called for so­ci­ety to “look be­yond base­less as­sump­tions and a cul­ture of fear” in de­cid­ing what ac­tiv­i­ties can now safely re­sume.

The free mass-par­tic­i­pa­tion run­ning and walk­ing event had been due to re­turn next month. Al­though the Govern­ment has not ex­plic­itly banned parkrun from re­turn­ing – and is still al­low­ing out­door sport­ing events to re­main ex­empt from its “rule of six” – con­cerns have been raised at a lo­cal level by pub­lic health of­fi­cials and land own­ers.

“Sadly, af­ter sig­nif­i­cant con­sul­ta­tion and dis­cus­sion, cir­cum­stances out­side of our con­trol have dic­tated that parkrun can­not re­turn in Eng­land by the end of Oc­to­ber, as we had hoped,” a state­ment said.

How­ever, parkrun also stressed its de­sire to re­turn “as soon as cir­cum­stances al­low” and the so­cial and health im­pacts of its on­go­ing ab­sence.

“We must act now if we are to avoid ir­repara­ble dam­age to the health and hap­pi­ness of our com­mu­ni­ties,” the state­ment said. “The health of our na­tion is fac­ing its great­est chal­lenge in decades.

“It is es­sen­tial that, as we map out the com­ing weeks and months of our col­lec­tive ef­forts to get back on our feet, we look be­yond base­less as­sump­tions and a cul­ture of fear.”

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