We are particularly pleased to see the prioritisation of children’s sport and activity in the roadmap, and due to the smaller number of participants and relative lack of tourism, we are comfortable supporting a phased return of junior events, helping teams to reopen when they are ready to do so.
In the absence of our 5k events, we will be reopening our junior parkrun series for children aged 4-10 only. We have thought long and hard about this temporary restriction over the last six months, and for the following reasons believe that it is the only appropriate way to reopen junior parkrun at this time:
- In the absence of 5k parkrun events, the number of registered children eligible for junior parkrun (aged 4-14) would effectively double, from roughly 300,000 to 600,000.
- By temporarily limiting our age categories to 4-10-year-olds only, we would be reducing the number of registered and eligible parkrunners by around 50%, bringing it back to a figure (around 300,000) similar to those previously registered to junior parkrun.
- Whilst we know that not all older children would attend a junior parkrun event, it is likely that a significant number would, with a high proportion of older, faster, and more competitive children coming over from our 5k events, likely to negatively impact the youngest participants.
- In the absence of being able to limit or cap event participation in any other way, this change allows us to mitigate the risks associated with junior parkrun events doubling in attendance ‘overnight’.
- From the conversations and discussions we have had so far with third parties, we also believe that local stakeholders will be significantly more comfortable giving permission for events targeted at primary-school-age children.
Importantly, we are committed to this change being temporary, and as soon as 5k events return, 11-14 year olds will be welcomed back to junior parkrun. In the interim period, we will strongly encourage parkrunners aged 11-14 to volunteer, or accompany younger siblings as they take their first parkrun steps.