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Return of popular Stratford parkrun put on hold after last stage of easing lockdown delayed by prime minister Boris Johnson

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THE increasingly popular Stratford parkrun will not return until at least next month, organisers have confirmed.

Action from last Sunday's junior parkrun. Photo: Natalie Jackson
Action from last Sunday's junior parkrun. Photo: Natalie Jackson

With prime minister Boris Johnson confirming on Monday that the final stage of easing lockdown was being delayed until Monday 19th July, parkrun UK chiefs announced they hope to resume the 5k events in England on Saturday 24th July.

A statement said: “A huge amount of work has been done in recent weeks to ensure we have permission to return from the large majority of landowners.

“Whilst this delay is disappointing, we respect the fact that a significant number of these permissions were contingent on the country moving into step four, and we will therefore target a new reopening date of Saturday 24th July.”

The enforced extra delay comes after parkrun UK announced on 21st May that it would be putting the return of the events on hold due to not enough landowner permissions being granted.

Although Stratford parkrun was granted permission, not enough had been given the go-ahead for a 5th June restart.

The delay came about amid fears that people in locations where permission had not been granted would travel out of their area to take part elsewhere, resulting in severe overcrowding at a time when social distancing remains a legal requirement.

Before Mr Johnson’s announcement on Monday, parkrun UK was hoping to get back up and running next Saturday, 26th June, after more than 500 events were given landowner permission.

But the delay to easing of lockdown comes as a blow to organisers and the many who take part in the runs.

However, with the critical number of permissions met and the vaccine now being rolled out to those in their 20s, there is some optimism that parkrun will return on 24th July as planned.

Simon Teale, joint event director of Stratford parkrun, told the Herald: “Most people expected there to be another delay.

"There was a big win last Friday when we got over the critical number of landowner permissions needed to return.

“But when we saw the news about the Delta variant we were thinking, ‘Uh-oh’.

"The delay is a little bit disappointing, but we are also relieved because we know where we are with more certainty.

"With the vaccine being rolled out to people in their mid-20s then, as long as it works, hopefully we can restart on 24th July.”

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