Leeds parkrun: Council confirms 5k runs can resume in Woodhouse Moor, Bramley Park, Roundhay Park and others parks across the city
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Parkrun has revolutionised grassroots running since its launch in 2004, but the events were suspended in the country after the first Covid-19 lockdown was implemented in March 2020.
However, the free weekly 5k running event will be able to resume in Leeds City Council managed parks and green spaces.
Currently in Leeds, there are six parkruns held in Leeds including; Woodhouse Moor, Roundhay Park, Temple Newsam estate, Cross Flatts Park, Bramley Park and Armley Park.
The Woodhouse Moor parkrun was the first parkrun even to be held outside of London.
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.
“With that in mind, and having assessed all the coronavirus guidance very closely, we are really pleased that following positive discussions with parkrun UK organisers, events will once again be able to take place in council managed parks and green spaces across the city.
“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.”
Global Head of Communications for parkrun, Russ Jeffery, said on Twitter: "Brilliant news!
"Thanks Leeds Council for such a decisive and proactive decision. That's all events across the city with permission to return. And a huge step closer to the regular community activity we so desperately need."
The news comes after the organisation, which has an office in Greek Street, reported that only 161 of 589 5k events they run had received landowner permission to return.
In a statement released today (Friday 14) a spokeswoman for parkrun said: "As things stand, 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.
"Despite legal permission to return and widespread support from Government, Public Health England and Sport England, a combination of obstacles including misunderstanding the Government’s Roadmap, reluctance, hesitation and unnecessary red tape threatens to delay the return of parkrun indefinitely.
"parkrun UK must make a decision two weeks ahead of the planned return on whether restarting events in England on Saturday June 5 is viable.
"With all other sports returning, alongside the reopening of indoor dining and hospitality, further roadblocks to parkrun’s return feel unreasonable, with non-response, red tape and internal administrative processes standing in the way of the inclusive, community physical activity.
"parkrun events have had permission to return since March, as part of Step 1 of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown.
"Operating under a government approved COVID-19 Framework, and with significant success restarting the junior 2k event series, as well as the vital need for people to be active and social outdoors, the time is now right for the return of Saturday morning 5k events."
Speaking in a House of Commons debate, Conservative frontbencher Nigel Huddleston said: “I’ve met recently with the leadership of parkrun.
“They take their responsibilities to run those events incredibly seriously with volunteers and others throughout the country.
“There’s nothing stopping them from starting very soon. I understand their plans are to start again nationally from early June.
“And I do encourage local authorities who work with parkruns to make sure that the events can open safely, to take the applications very seriously and sympathetically because I think we’d all like to see parkrun start again very soon.”
Runners and volunteers are asked to please contact their relevant parkrun organisers to find out more details regarding when events will start once again in individual parks and green spaces.