Dogs have been welcome at parkrun since we started, however, we do recognise that they pose a potential risk to participants, and other park users, and therefore we ask that parkrunners with dogs abide by the following general principles (separate considerations apply in relation to assistance dogs – as set out further below).
- Before attending any 5k parkrun event please check the event website to confirm whether dogs are allowed.
- Dogs are not allowed to accompany walkers, runners, or volunteers at junior parkrun events.
- Where dogs are permitted, only one dog is permitted per parkrunner, whether walking, running or volunteering.
- Short hand-held non-extendable leads only - no waist harnesses.
- Stand back at pre-event briefings if your dog is prone to barking. This is to ensure that parkrunners can hear announcements clearly and don't get distracted.
- When walking or running with a dog please position yourself at the start line according to predicted finish time.
- Keep your dog on a lead, by your side, within arms reach, and under control throughout the event.
- It is not permitted to participate with a pushchair and a dog at the same time.
- Do not register your dog as a parkrunner.
- Do consider whether the weather/terrain are suitable for your dog.
- Please clean up after your dog.
Whenever someone is walking, running or volunteering at a parkrun event with their dog, the dog must be on a short, handheld, non-extendable lead, in control, and at the participant’s side at all times.
This applies to all global parkrun events where dogs are permitted and includes assistance dogs.
Further information for volunteer event teams
This policy summary (above) must always be stated in the first-timers welcome and pre-event briefings. If an event team sees someone who is not following this rule, they should sensitively discuss the matter with them, and explain that they may not be included in the results or be able to volunteer with their dog in the future.
In each case of someone not following these principles, please log an incident, do not exclude them from the results, and we will be in touch if needed.
Some local event teams may feel that their locations are not suitable for dogs and we would therefore be happy to discuss the possibility of designating such events as 'dog-free'. (excepting assistance dogs - see below).
Similarly, some events may be in locations where there are by-laws, or the landowner has a specific policy forbidding dogs. In these cases, the fact that the event is 'dog-free' (excepting assistance dogs) is to be clearly communicated on the event website.
For assistance with this, event teams should contact parkrun HQ via email@example.com.
Previously, as waist harnesses were permitted, we asked that where course or age records were broken, those performances were marked as assisted. This prevented records from being unfairly broken.
As waist harnesses are no longer permitted (save in relation to assistance dog in certain circumstances - see below), this is no longer the case and performances with dogs should no longer be marked as assisted.
Assistance Dogs at parkrun events
Our aim is to allow participation with dogs, across the parkrun world, wherever safe to do so. In some cases however, dogs are not allowed at our events. There are exceptions available in relation to any parkrun event, however, where an individual requires the use of an assistance dog.
Defining an Assistance Dog
There is no single globally-recognised standard or accreditation for assistance dogs and as such, it is challenging to provide clear criteria for the definition of an assistance dog in a parkrun context.
We therefore allow individuals to self-classify their dogs as assistance dogs.
In order to respect the safety of all participants however, and to ensure our teams are able to appropriately manage their events, we do require that people participating with assistance dogs adhere to the following guidelines.
- In most cases, our events allow people to walk, run, or volunteer with a dog, subject to the rules described above. In these situations, there are no additional requirements for people with assistance dogs beyond the broader conditions of participating with a dog.
- At events where dogs are not normally allowed, there are exemptions where someone requires the use of an assistance dog in order to participate, however the following conditions apply:
- Assistance dogs must be clearly identifiable as such at all times.
- When someone is walking, running, or volunteering, at a 5k or junior event, they must inform the Run Director on arrival, and the assistance dog must be on a short, handheld (unless the following provisions apply), non-extendable lead, in control, and at the participant’s side at all times.
Assistance dogs and waist harnesses
Given general safety concerns and the increased risk of tripping accidents, waist harnesses (where the lead is attached to the owner’s waist) are not allowed at parkrun events. However, where someone requires an assistance dog in order to participate, and is physically unable to use a handheld lead, we will make reasonable adjustments to our policies and procedures.
In the event that someone feels the only way for them to participate is with their assistance dog, but also that they are unable to use a hand-held lead, and therefore the only way for them to participate is by using a waist harness, they need to apply to parkrun HQ in order to request an exemption.
In order to receive a waist harness exemption, the applicant should explain the reasons why a handheld lead is not suitable for them, and confirm that without the use of a waist harness they would not be able to participate. They should also confirm that their dog is a trained assistance dog and will remain on a short, non-extendable lead, in control, and at their side at all times.
Where an exemption is granted by parkrun HQ, the following principles must be followed in order to participate:
- On arrival, the parkrunner must inform the Run Director that they have an exemption (these will be recorded centrally) and will be taking part with their assistance dog on a waist harness. Event teams should accept this on a trust basis, and do not need to verify the exemption.
- At all times whilst walking, running, or volunteering, the dog must be clearly identified as an assistance dog, remain on a short, non-extendable lead, be in control and at their side at all times.