Lord Coe makes passionate plea as Parkrun hopes to restart next month with World Athletics president warning ‘we must get behind it now, or risk losing it forever’
- Organisers will confirm whether parkrun will be able to restart in a fortnight
- Lord Sebastian Coe threw his weight behind the popular event continuing
- The free weekly 5k has seen almost four million people take part across the UK
The future of Parkrun in England will become clearer on Thursday, with organisers set to confirm whether the popular event can restart in a fortnight as planned.
And on Wednesday night, Lord Coe threw his weight behind the event. In a letter in support of Parkrun, the World Athletics president said: ‘If we can shop, eat and drink inside restaurants… then putting on an organised community running event in our parks really is a ‘no brainer’.
‘Maybe we have taken Parkrun for granted. Quietly and unassumingly, Parkrun has become part of the fabric of everyday life. But unless we get behind it now, we risk losing it for ever.’
Lord Coe has said that continuing Parkrun as soon as possible is a ‘no brainer’
The free weekly 5k community event, which has seen almost four million people take part across the UK on Saturday mornings since it began in 2004, has been suspended since March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Government gave the nod for the grassroots phenomenon to return in March this year, as part of step 1 of their roadmap out of lockdown — but parkrun needs permission from landowners for individual events to reopen.
June 5 remains the target date, but there is an acknowledgement that the restart may have to be pushed back if not enough events get the go-ahead. Organisers want confirmation that the vast majority of the 589 across England can restart — with around 300,000 on average taking part in England every week, opening a smaller number of events is unfeasible due to the likelihood that some will become overcrowded.
But with outdoor and indoor sports returning in stages over the last few months and indoor hospitality now back, there remains hope that it will return next month.
‘We continue to work hard with landowners for 5k events in England, steadily receiving the permissions necessary to reopen events on June 5,’ said chief operating officer Tom Williams.
‘At the time of writing we have received full or partial permission from landowners representing 236 events, and are working with around another 264 landowners at various stages of the process.
‘In order to provide some certainty for local communities, and to give enough time for event teams to prepare, we will be making an announcement to confirm whether or not events are able to return on June 5 as planned.’