Kirklees Council has given the go-ahead for Huddersfield Parkrun to resume on June 5 – but a decision on whether it starts again hangs in the balance.
Junior parkruns have returned but the adult versions are facing hurdles due to safety concerns.
So far only 161 of the 589 adult parkrun events nationally have been given the go ahead by the landowners and that’s not enough for Parkrun UK to allow all its events, including the one in Huddersfield, to re-start.
A final decision on whether parkruns will re-launch on the first Saturday in June is expected on Friday May 21.
The last adult parkrun in Huddersfield was on March 14 2020 when 545 runners took part, assisted by 60 volunteers.
Across the country more than 200,000 people take part and the uncertainty has left runners kicking their heels.
In a statement Parkrun UK said: “With one week to go until Parkrun makes an announcement on the planned return of events across England, currently only 161 of 589 5k events have landowner permission to return.
“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 June 5 as planned.
“Despite legal permission to return and 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 re-starting events on June 5 is viable.
“With all other sports returning, alongside the re-opening 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.”
The statement added: “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.”
A spokesman for Huddersfield Parkrun said while the return date was still unconfirmed, organisers were hopeful and “very excited” at the prospect coming back.
“It will be great to have some normality back in these uncertain times,” he said.
Huddersfield parkrun regular Sean Doyle said runners were frustrated at not being able to get back.
“It’s double standards,” he said. “The pub and hospitality sector and tourism is opening up so you can eat and drink indoors or fly off on a plane to Portugal but you can’t run in the park.
“OK, there is a new variant of the virus but, if carefully managed and lessons are learned from before, disaster can be averted. We have to live with this and start to get back to normal.
“It’s beyond belief that an activity that is good for mind and body is last to start up again.”
Dad-of-two Sean was about to start his seventh parkrun in May 2013 when he collapsed from a massive cardiac arrest which left him with only a 6% chance of survival.
Only the swift attention of medics – and the use of a new chest compression system – saved his life.
Dubbed ‘Miracle Man’, he was quickly back running and has now clocked up 235 parkruns.
Sean Doyle is Huddersfield Hub’s photographer – view Sean’s gallery HERE