Posted: Thu 23rd Dec 2021

Covid rule changes in Wales means Wepre parkrun suspended from 26th December

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Dec 23rd, 2021

Parkruns across Wales have been cancelled from New Years Day following changes to Covid restrictions announced by the Welsh government.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said Wednesday Wales will move to Alert Level 2 on Boxing Day.

New measures being brought in will mean sport in Wales will be limited to 50 spectators.

Parkrun have announced that they are taking the step of cancelling all events in Wales in the New Year – with the exception of junior parkruns.

Wepre parkrun announced on Facebook the popular 5km run has been suspended from Boxing Day.

In a statement, parkrun said: “Unfortunately, the Welsh Government has also announced a gathering limit of 50 people, from December 26 onwards.

“Whilst this does not include children, and therefore does not impact junior parkrun, it does mean that we have no choice but to suspend all our 5k events from January 1 onwards.

“We know that some Welsh parkrun events regularly have fewer than 50 people attending, however it would take a very small influx (at what is typically a very busy time of year) for them to exceed the limit.

“We understand that this news will be incredibly disappointing to many Welsh parkrunners, and we’d like to reassure you all that we will do everything we can to bring parkrun events back across Wales as soon as these restrictions are lifted.

“Thankfully, junior parkrun events are exempt from the 50-person gathering limit and so should go ahead as planned on Sunday, December 26 and, in the absence of further changes to regulations, continue as normal. Importantly, junior parkrun events will remain open to all children aged 4 to 14 years old.”

The Senedd was recalled for a session on Wednesday to hear a statement from the First Minister and gave the opportunity for Members to quiz the FM on various topics around the pandemic response and recent regulations.

John Griffiths MS pointed out the benefits of Park Runs in Wales and asked if there was a way to keep them running.

The First Minister said they were fine to go ahead within limits, “As far as parkruns are concerned, they can continue.”

“There will be a limit of 50 people being able to take part directly in the run—that doesn’t include people who are involved in stewarding or volunteering around it.”

“And where it’s junior parkruns for people under 18, there will be unlimited numbers available.”

“I think I’m aware, already, of some parkruns that, because of the numbers, run a certain number at one point in the day and another set of people later.”

“So, there will be a need for some flexibility, and I’m sure that we’re talking to the sector.”

“But under the rules that we’ve announced today, parkruns can continue. They have to continue within the rules, but the rules are not prohibitive.”

Welsh Athletics and parkrun issued a joint statement, in it they said:  “We are disappointed and concerned by the introduction of prohibitive restrictions that will once again significantly impact on the ability for people to engage with walking, running, and volunteering activities across Wales.”

“The benefits of walking, running, and volunteering for physical and mental health and wellbeing are well documented, and have been championed by many within the Senedd.”

“It is also widely accepted, and supported by the evidence, that not only do outdoor environments present incredibly low risk of virus transmission, but increasing physical activity and health is one of the most important tools for overcoming COVID-19.’”

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