Parkruns will return but end of June is more realistic

The parkruns in St Neots and Huntingdon are expected to return at the end of June.

The parkruns in St Neots and Huntingdon are expected to return at the end of June. - Credit:

Parkruns are expected to make a come-back within the next few weeks after a break caused by the coronavirus lockdown.

Mayor of St Neots, Cllr Stephen Ferguson, co-event director at the town’s run at Pocket Park, in St Neost, said he expected the event to resume soon, although they may not meet the June 5 target date which organisers hoped for. However, it is thought the events could be back by the end of June.

“It is a question of dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s,” Cllr Ferguson said.

“I have no issue with the way the district council has been dealing with it, especially if it is a matter of public safety.”

Like other sporting events which involved public gatherings, the 5K parkruns were called off because of the Covid regulations.

National parkrun organisers have been in discussion with landowners about bringing the free community events back, but have raised concerns about delays.

The community event was suspended in March last year due to pandemic.

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ParkrunUK says it hopes to resume all 5k events across England on June 26, with a decision to be made on June 11.

Cllr Ferguson said a decision needed to be finalised with landowners, which in St Neots’ case included the town and district councils.

“I do feel very supported by the landowners and I am optimistic it will come back,” he said.

The Huntingdon event takes place at Hinchingbrooke Park which is also owned by the district council.

Co-event director Stuart Ainsworth said national organisers wanted to create a “critical mass” of 85 per cent of the 550 or so runs being ready to go, but were unlikely to achieve this by the June 5 date. He felt June 26 was a possible start date. 

He said the Huntingdon group had around 9,000, runners, walkers and helpers on its books, with about 250-300 taking part in each event. The number and venue for the runs changed.

A spokesman for the district council said: “The district council recognises and fully supports the vital role parkrun plays in encouraging physical activity and enjoyment in Huntingdonshire. 

“We have been working proactively with the local race director to ensure that any events taking place on council land, and in this case within our much-loved and utilised parks, will be organised with all the appropriate measures in place for the safety of those in attendance and our wider community of park users.”