Harrogate Parkrun sets a new date for its return as runners await next stage of roadmap
After nearly 18 months without Parkrun in Harrogate, hopes are rising that the popular event will be back by the end of June.
Covid restrictions have enforced a long absence for the event which has attracted hundreds of people to run 5k on the Stray each Saturday morning since the first Harrogate Parkrun was held in 2012.
However, with restrictions easing, Parkrun UK has revealed its intention to resume all of its free-to-enter 5k events across England on Saturday, June 26.
Volunteers behind Harrogate Parkrun had been all set to go on the original date of June 5th after securing the approval of Harrogate Borough Council, but they are having to wait that little bit longer.
A lack of support in some parts of the country by landowners and local authorities for the return of Parkrun left the event’s national headquarters with a headache - how to prevent people travelling across the country from areas without a Parkrun operating, to ones which do have one.
But this week has seen a revival in optimism after a call by the Government to all local authorities to support the resumption of Parkrun and new confirmation that there are no legal reasons why the popular event should not now be held with any number of participants as long as they are held in line with Covid guidance.
In a joint letter sent to all councils in England, communities secretary, Robert Jenrick, and the culture secretary, Oliver Dowded, said: "We strongly urge local authorities to ensure that they are applying their powers in a consistent and proportionate manner and progressing Parkrun's applications at pace in order to allow these events to return as soon as possible."
Since Harrogate Parkrun started in 2012, a total of 16,670 runners have completed the 5k course on the Stray.
One of Harrogate Parkrun’s organisers Ted Welton told the Harrogate Advertiser that volunteers were keen to welcome back runners on June 26.
He said: “We have always been in the hands of Parkrun HQ who I know have been keen to get people active again.
“At a local level we’re all ready to go. We already had permission from Harrogate Borough Council to restart on June 5th, as did Knaresborough Parkrun at Conyngham Hall.
“However, we are now looking at June 26th for Harrogate Parkrun’s restart.”
But it’s not just a welcome turn of events for Harrogate runners - or those who usually take part in Parkrun at Fountain’s Abbey near Ripon.
In England there are nearly 600 Parkruns with three million registered participants on their books.
The event’s global chief executive Nick Pearson says there is still a lot of work to do to win over the remaining landowners.
Although 250 locations in England have given them permission to run on June 5th, around 150 landowners, including a number of local authorities, have either refused permission for Parkrun to return, or not yet replied.
Mr Pearson said: “We will continue to work hard with landowners and do everything we can to ensure events restart on June 26.”
A message from the Editor
Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.
Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.