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The current position regarding COVID-19(Coronavirus) and implications for parkrun events are available on each Country's blog.

COVID-19 Framework for parkrun events

As things stand, all open parkrun events are required to follow this COVID-19 Framework.

COVID-19 Framework for parkrun events

  1. Background
    1. parkrun is a UK-based charity with a global remit to promote community participation in healthy recreation. Since launching in 2004, it has grown to over 2,100 weekly locations across 23 countries, with 7 million registered members. Prior to closing all events, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, a typical week would see 350,000 people walk, jog or run, and another 30,000 people volunteer.
    2. All events follow a single delivery plan and safeguarding protocol. All events possess their own specific risk assessment but when operating under this framework, additionally follow a COVID-19 specific risk assessment.
    3. It is widely accepted that parkrun is an incredibly effective public health intervention, able to engage people from a range of backgrounds and communities. Globally, parkrun events directly enable over ten million hours of socially-focused outdoor activity per year, which itself has a significant positive impact on health and wellbeing. It has also been shown that, following participation in parkrun events, participants are likely to significantly increase activity levels in other areas of their lives.
    4. Across all participation metrics, prior to lockdown, parkrun was growing at around 25% per year, with that growth rate forecast to increase over the following years.
    5. It is clear therefore that the reopening of parkrun events would significantly improve the health and wellbeing of many people, and keeping them closed represents a significant loss of opportunity regarding access to physical activity. Further, with COVID-19 and the associated lockdowns shown to disproportionately impact those from more disadvantaged communities, and as parkrun events are shown to have the greatest impact on those communities, it is important from a public health perspective to reopen parkrun events as soon as it is safe and practical.
    6. In order to understand the risks associated with reopening parkrun events within communities where there remains an underlying level of COVID-19 infection, it is critical to understand transmission routes:
      1. Droplet and aerosol transmission: It is now recognised that airborne transmission is the major route by which the SARS-CoV-2 virus passes between people. The virus can be spread either by large respiratory droplets (>100 μm in diameter) that behave ballistically and fall to the ground within 2m, or by exhaled aerosol droplets (<100 μm in diameter), which potentially pose a greater risk because they can travel further and remain suspended in the air for longer (see here).
      2. Fomite (via surfaces) transmission: In April 2021 the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention published a briefing paper on indoor surface (fomite) transmission, stating that; Contact with a contaminated surface has less than a 1 in 10,000 chance of causing an infection, Outdoor surfaces present a lower risk than indoor surfaces, Infection risk further reduces by 99% within 72 hours. We do not, therefore, consider parkrun events operating under this framework to present a material risk of virus transmission via the touching of surfaces.
  2. Strengths of parkrun’s operating model
    1. Evidence suggests that outdoor environments are significantly less likely to contribute to the transmission of COVID-19 than indoor environments. All parkrun events take place entirely within areas of open space and do not require any closed environments.
    2. Walking and running are non-contact activities that do not require any prolonged face-to-face contact.
    3. parkrun events require very little in the way of equipment and have always followed a simple operating model requiring minimal event infrastructure.
    4. Participants are required to register online and in advance of their attendance, and also do not need to collect any items (such as race numbers) in order to participate.
    5. Walkers, runners, and volunteers are asked to provide email addresses as part of their online registration process, and as a result in accordance with our privacy policy, we are able to accurately and quickly contact people in attendance on any given day in order to facilitate contacting tracing such as the UK's NHS Test and Trace programme if needed. parkrun Global will manage this process (if required), not individual event teams.
  3. Event Delivery During COVID-19
    1. At parkrun events operating under the COVID-19 Framework, the Event Director(s) of each event will act as the COVID-19 Officer(s), which means that:
      1. Prior to reopening, they will be required to familiarise themselves with this document and confirm they have done so.
      2. Ensure that all Run Directors are also familiar with this document and will follow these guidelines on event day.
    2. All participants and volunteers must undergo a self-assessment for any Covid-19- symptoms. No one should attend a parkrun event if they have any of the following: A high temperature (above 37.8°C), a new, continuous cough, a loss of, or change to, their sense of smell or taste. This check should be done prior to each parkrun event. Should an individual have demonstrated any such symptoms, they must not participate or volunteer, and should follow relevant guidance in their country of residence.
    3. Anyone who has already been instructed to self-isolate by a health care practitioner should continue to follow this advice and not participate or volunteer.
    4. Everyone should comply with public health restrictions and avoid high-risk behaviour outside the parkrun setting to reduce the risk to fellow participants and other attendees.
    5. In the event of the local lockdown of a particular area, relevant parkrun events will be closed with immediate effect and registered parkrunners from that area will be advised appropriately.
    6. In some situations, people require direct assistance in order to participate at our events, such as someone with a visual impairment requiring a guide. In these situations, whilst everyone should follow local guidelines where possible, it is clear that the health benefits of participation outweigh the health risks of, for example, being guided. As such, where events are operating under this Framework, and an individual could not participate without the support of another person, this support is permitted.
  4. Arriving at events
    1. Participants should be encouraged, where possible, to travel to their events by foot, bicycle, or private transport, without breaking social distancing guidelines specific for their region.
  5. Gathering before and setting up events
    1. The Run Directors on the day must be familiar with these operating guidelines.
    2. When volunteers arrive on the morning of the event, they should follow local distancing guidelines.
    3. All volunteers must at all times be symptom-free and sanitise hands on arrival at the event. All parkrun events provide hand sanitiser for use by volunteers.
    4. A single volunteer should assign roles to other volunteers one at a time as they arrive, and hand out volunteer bibs and lanyards, whilst following any local social distancing requirements at all times.
    5. Due to parkrun’s lean operating model, event equipment (for example, arrows, start/finish signs, finish funnels, flags) is considered essential for the safe operation of the event. However, it should be set out (and collected at the end of the event) in a way that volunteers do not break local social distancing requirements.
    6. Participants, volunteers, and spectators should follow local social distancing requirements at all times.
    7. Any areas used for a pre-event gathering should maximise the available space for each participant and minimise the amount of time participants spend in proximity to each other.
    8. In some geographic regions, events are required to display and promote official contact tracing QR codes and applications. Where this is the case, event teams and parkrun communities will be notified directly.
    9. First-timers briefings are critical to participant welfare and creating a welcoming atmosphere for people who may feel anxious. These should take place ten minutes prior to the start of the event, last no longer than two minutes, and follow local social distancing requirements.
    10. junior parkrun events are required to hold warm-ups prior to the start. These are considered part of the event itself and care should be taken to follow any local social distancing requirements.
    11. parkrun events do not provide qualified first aiders. However, all events are provided with a first aid kit, which, if required, should be used respecting local social distancing requirements where possible. Critical incidents should be dealt with in accordance with our critical incident policy.
    12. In some critical incidents, CPR is required to save an individual's life. According to the Resuscitation Council UK, “When someone has a cardiac arrest, they are not breathing normally and their heart has stopped. With no treatment, this person will die, usually within a few minutes. Early CPR and defibrillation give them their best chance of survival.”. Please see https://www.resus.org.uk/covid-19-resources for further guidance on the delivery of CPR during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  6. The start
    1. Start lines should be considered to maximise the available space for each participant and minimise the amount of time participants spend in proximity to each other. Adaptations that each event should therefore consider are:
      1. (Required)- Pre-event briefings must be kept to a maximum time of two minutes (example script below) and ideally, should be scripted in advance in order to keep to time.
      2. (Required) – Participants must be moved to the start line as close to the start time as possible to minimise the amount of time spent in close proximity to each other.
      3. (Required) – All events must start promptly in order to minimise the amount of time participants spend in close proximity to each other.
      4. (Required) – Participants must be asked to seed themselves appropriately, with faster participants towards the front, and slower participants towards the back.
      5. (Considered) – Depending on the course design, start areas can be moved from the usual place if more space is available and risk assessed appropriately. Note: wider start lines do not always support social distancing as they can lead to congestion if the course narrows shortly after. This should be considered by event teams.
    2. Where a start area is moved due to COVID-19 adaptations, total course distance of our 5k events can be increased by up to 500m if needed, and total course distance of our junior events can be increased by up to 200m. Importantly, courses must not be shorter than 5k or 2k respectively
    3. All event timing and scanning is to be carried out using the parkrun Virtual Volunteer mobile application. Use of event stopwatches and barcode scanners is not permitted.
    4. Participants should be encouraged to observe local social distancing requirements where possible.
  7. During the event
    1. Participants are permitted to walk or run at their own pace.
    2. Participants should walk, jog or run with an aim of making use of all available space and minimising the amount of time in close proximity to each other.
    3. Pacers are permitted where doing so does not conflict with local social distancing requirements.
    4. Participants should not behave in a way that contradicts local social distancing requirements.
    5. Other users of the park or area of open space should be given way to at all times.
  8. The finish
    1. Finish lines should be in as open an area as possible, can be moved if required and risk assessed appropriately.
    2. Where a finish area is moved due to COVID-19 adaptations to the total course distance of our 5k events can be increased by up to 500m if needed, and the total course distance of our junior events can be increased by up to 200m. Importantly, courses must not be shorter than 5k or 2k respectively.
    3. Finish lines should be widened where possible and enough space should be given such that finish tokens can be handed out without causing crowding and to respect local social distancing requirements where possible.
    4. The finish funnel should be lengthened if helpful to increase flow and avoid crowding.
    5. Finish tokens should be given out at the end of the funnel, not the beginning.
    6. Scanners should be spaced out and sufficiently far away from the finish funnel such that queues do not build up and local social distancing requirements can be maintained. They should not be placed directly at the end of the finish funnel
    7. Barcode scanning must be carried out using the parkrun Virtual Volunteer application on the volunteer’s own mobile device. (Event barcode scanners must not be used)
    8. The number of volunteers scanning should be significantly increased.
      1. The parkrun Virtual Volunteer application has been developed to accommodate increasing numbers of users and the requirement for 100% use.
      2. We recommend that 5k events aim for around one volunteer scanner per 50 finishers and junior events aim for one volunteer scanner per 25 finishers.
    9. Scanning of finish tokens and personal barcodes must, where possible, be entirely contactless and at a distance, with participants holding their own position and personal barcodes, then depositing their position token in a receptacle after they have been scanned.
  9. After the event
    1. Finish tokens, prior to sorting, must either be washed straight after each event or quarantined for 72 hours.
    2. Bibs and lanyards must either be washed straight after each event or quarantined for 72 hours.
    3. The sharing of equipment must be avoided where possible.
    4. Any gatherings following parkrun events should adhere to local social distancing requirements and remain sensitive to the feelings of local communities.
    5. All participants, volunteers and spectators are required to adhere to local social distancing requirements (relevant to their region) after the event.
  10. Children
    1. Children have been shown to be at lower risk from COVID-19, however, they are also less likely to socially distance or observe hand hygiene.
    2. At 5k events the under 11s rule should be highlighted particularly clearly.
    3. At all events, participants should be reminded that before, during and after the event children should adhere to local social distancing requirements relevant to their age group.
  11. Supporting communications from parkrun HQ
    1. All parkrunners will be emailed directly with pre-reopening guidelines once a reopening date is confirmed for their event, including a code of conduct that highlights key aspects such as not attending if symptomatic, social distancing requirements, sanitising hands on arrival and departure (non-volunteer participants to provide their own hand sanitiser) and respecting other people’s personal space. All new registrants will receive the same guidelines.
    2. All national communications channels will include updates on parkrun’s COVID-19 Framework.
    3. Communication should also include an explanation that some events will be busy and, whilst we have minimised the risk, participants should make their own decision as to whether they are comfortable returning.
  12. Contact Tracing
    1. Walkers, runners, and volunteers are asked to provide email addresses as part of their online registration process, and as a result in accordance with our privacy policy, we are able to accurately and quickly contact people in attendance on any given day in order to facilitate contacting tracing such as by the UK's NHS Test and Trace programme if needed. parkrun Global will manage this process (if required), not individual event teams.
    2. We can rapidly communicate (via email) post-event with specific groups of parkrunners and where asked to do so by public health bodies can do so effectively and professionally.
    3. Where a participant or volunteer attends a parkrun event and subsequently tests positive, no action should be taken unless requested by official contract tracing authorities.
  13. Enhanced Volunteer support
    1. Insight tells us that the majority of parkrunners are comfortable returning as walkers, joggers, runners, or volunteers. However, returning in locations where there is an underlying level of infection will no doubt raise a number of questions from within and outside of the parkrun community. We will therefore provide sufficient support to volunteers such that they are able to carry out their roles without undue pressure and anxiety.
    2. COVID-19 queries through parkrunner or event support will be fast-tracked.
    3. Results processing support will be enhanced through increased availability of the chat support system and increased numbers of central volunteers supporting that service.
    4. Event teams and Ambassadors will receive regular communications around the practicality of these guidelines and application of them at the event level.
    5. All parkrun volunteers are covered under our public liability insurance policy as long as they follow these guidelines to the best of their ability.
  14. Updates to Virtual Volunteer / WebFMS
    1. When finished scanning or timing, Virtual Volunteer will allow for simple identification of the volunteer (by scanning their own barcode or typing their own name) and event location (by scanning the event specific QR code).
    2. Scanning and timing data will automatically transfer directly to that event’s WebFMS ready for processing.
    3. Scanning and timing volunteers (who scan their barcode or type their name during the upload) will be automatically credited for volunteering at that event.
    4. Continued iOS and Android parity.
    5. The use of Virtual Volunteer can be an entirely contactless process with volunteers not handling any tokens or barcodes.
  15. Example pre-event brief
  • junior event
    • Welcome to Harrogate junior parkrun.

    • Thanks to today’s volunteers, if you’d like to volunteer in future please speak to me later this morning, we’d love to see you.

    • The course is two laps of the park. At the end of the first lap please turn left to start lap two. At the end of the second lap please turn right to the finish.

    • Please give way to other park users at all times.

    • Parents, please don’t cross the finish line.

    • There are no hazards on the course today but please watch out for uneven surfaces and fallen branches.

    • In the event of any incidents please speak to your nearest volunteer, who will contact me and provide support.

    • We have access to two Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) at the top and bottom of the course along with a first aid kit.

    • During the event, you should try to walk, or run with the aim of making use of all available space and minimising the amount of time in close proximity to each other.

    • Please hold your hand out for a finish position token.

    • After the finish line please continue to respect local social distancing requirements.

    • Please hold your barcode and finish position token out for the volunteer to scan.

    • Please don’t take your finish position token home.

    • Kids (and parents) it’s a run not a race, smile on your face.

    • Is everyone ready?

    • Go!

  • 5km event
    • Welcome to Westerfolds parkrun.

    • Thanks to today’s volunteers, if you’d like to volunteer in future please speak to me later this morning, we’d love to see you.

    • The course is out and back.

    • Please give way to other park users at all times.

    • The course is muddy today after the rain so please watch out for slippery or uneven surfaces.

    • In the event of any incidents please speak to your nearest volunteer, who will contact me and provide support.

    • We have an automatic external defibrillator (AED) and first aid kit located at the start line.

    • During the event, you should try to walk, jog or run with an aim of making use of all available space and minimising the amount of time in close proximity to each other.

    • Please hold your hand out for a finish position token.

    • After the finish line please continue to respect social distancing guidelines and support your children to do so also.

    • Please hold your barcode and finish position token out for the volunteer to scan.

    • Please don’t take your finish position token home.

    • Children under the age of 11 must be within arm’s reach of a parent, guardian or designated adult of the parents' choice at all times.

    • One dog is permitted per participant and must be on a short lead.

    • Is everyone ready?

    • Go!

COVID-19 risk assessment for the return of parkrun events.

Item

Risk

Comment

Mitigation

C1

General transmission between participants and/or volunteers.

All parkrun events are local community gatherings of people from different households.

People must not attend if they show any symptoms of COVID-19, have recently tested positive, or are required to quarantine for any other reason.

C2

Participants come into contact with other people whilst travelling to a parkrun event.

Typically with parkrun events we do not see large groups of people travelling long distances together (such as with football fans in coaches), and many people already walk, run, or cycle to their events.

Encourage participants to observe public health guidance whilst travelling to the event. Also encourage people to walk, run, or cycle to events.

C3

Participants travelling to an event move infections from one area to another.

Three-quarters of parkrunners live within 10km of the event they attend. Seventy percent of parkrunners have only attended a single event location.

Encourage people to attend their local events where possible.

C4

Volunteers spread the virus through touching course-specific hardware.

Whilst parkrun events do not require much in the way of course hardware, standard items are essential (e.g. flags, arrows, stakes, tape)

All volunteers to sanitise hands on arrival (provided by event), and to be reminded of good hygiene practice. Minimal people to touch each item.

C5

Volunteer bibs and lanyards spread the virus through the volunteer group.

parkrun events average around 20 volunteers per event instance.

Volunteer bibs and lanyards to be washed or quarantined between events and handed out by a single dedicated volunteer with as little contact as possible. All items to be handed back in also with as little contact as possible.

C6

Use of timing and scanning hardware transmits virus.

parkrun events utilise timing and scanning hardware to carry out these functions. This provides a fomite risk as devices are handed out, used, collected, and then connected to laptops. Each contact also presents a risk of droplet transmission.

All timing and scanning to be carried out on volunteers’ own mobile devices using the dedicated mobile application. This entirely removes fomite and droplet transmission risk via this activity.

C6

parkrunners in close proximity before and after events.

Volunteers typically arrive 30-45 minutes prior to the start, and walkers/runners typically arrive 10-30 minutes prior to the start.

All parkrunners to be reminded of the need to follow local COVID-specific guidelines.

C7

parkrunners in close proximity at startline.

It is not possible to accommodate wave starts, or to limit participant numbers, therefore all participants need to be at the startline at the same time.

Minimise time at startline by bringing people there at the last minute, and keeping pre-event briefings under two minutes. Move startlines to areas of more open space if possible.

C8

parkrunners in close proximity on the course

Non-contact and not face-to-face, also typically not for extended periods of time.

During the event, participants should walk, jog or run with an aim of making use of all available space and minimising the amount of time in close proximity to each other.

C9

parkrunners in close proximity at finish line and in finish funnel

parkrunners enter the finish funnel and are handed a token. For a short period of time they may be in non-face-to-face contact within 1m.

Finish funnels to be extended where possible, finish tokens to be given out at the end of funnel rather than beginning. Scanners to be moved away from the end of the funnel to allow faster dispersal. Number of volunteer scanners to be significantly increased to remove queues. Scanners to be spaced out sufficiently to allow themselves and participants to physically distance.

C10

Finish tokens spreading the virus.

Each finisher must be provided with a finish token to record their position.

Finish tokens to be washed or quarantined between events and handled by minimal people, all of whom have sanitised their hands. Recipient to keep hold of their position token whilst they are scanned, and then drop directly into a receptacle.

C11

Individuals at high risk from COVID-19 infection in attendance.

parkrun participants are typically not high-risk individuals. However, due to large overall numbers there will be high-risk individuals in attendance at many events.

Whilst we have mitigated as many risks as possible, there is no such thing as a 100% safe environment. From the time we publicly announce events reopening onwards our communications channels will regularly provide information regarding minimising risk and taking necessary precautions.

See below for the COVID-19 specific codes available for download:

  • COVID-19 walker and runner code (Colour and Printer Friendly)
  • COVID-19 Volunteer code (Colour and Printer Friendly)