Skip to content

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

COVID-19 Framework FAQs

Please note:

This is a live document that we are developing as we receive feedback from parkrunners around the world. As with the COVID-19 Framework itself, it is likely to change over the coming days and weeks.

  1. Why is there a single global process, when different countries have different guidelines regarding COVID-19?
    1. All parkrun countries are supported by parkrun Global, the UK-based charity which ultimately sets the guidelines in which events operate. Whilst it is important that local sensitivities are respected and understood, it is also important that we keep things as simple as possible.
    2. With 22 countries hosting parkrun events, it would not be practical to develop 22 different COVID-19 Framework documents.
    3. We will keep this under review and where it seems a country may not start for an unreasonable period of time purely because we will not carry out a simple additional function then we may choose to make an exception.
    4. Situations around the world are also changing on a daily basis and in general (not everywhere) restrictions are relaxing. Because of that, something that may seem inappropriate now could be perfectly acceptable in a few weeks time.
  2. Would we allow the partial reopening of territories/regions?
    1. Initially, our position was only to start entire parkrun countries at a time; a principle based on the desire to keep things as simple and scalable as possible, and the assumption that countries would tend towards a position where guidance was common nationally.
    2. We are now seeing significant differences within countries and as such we are reviewing our position on sub-national reopening.
    3. In cases where a landowner is unable to give permission for an event to return we would assess the implications of that and include them within our decision-making process for the entire country.
    4. With situations changing around the world, however, we are currently reviewing this position and will update via the Tuesday updates published on each country blog site where appropriate.
  3. How will the decision be made to reopen?
    1. There are four key factors we are considering when looking at reopening parkrun events:
      1. Government guidelines: At no point would we contravene government guidelines in a location where a parkrun exists.
      2. Infection risk: There are two components to this; the underlying level of virus in the community and chances of transmission at a parkrun event. The former is largely out of our hands, however, we are able to follow credible data sources in order to predict the likelihood of an infected person attending. The latter is more within our control and the aim of our COVID-19 Framework is to minimise transmission risk whilst retaining factors that allow parkrun to operate at scale.
      3. The intent of parkrunners to return: At the moment we are surveying thousands of parkrunners every Friday and are asking them a number of questions relating to their intent to return. We have also engaged a specialist data insight company to provide further and more detailed analysis of that survey work.
      4. Acceptance in the wider community: Even if we felt it was safe, and governments allowed us, and all the parkrunners wanted to come back, it would be inappropriate for us to return if the wider community wasn’t supportive. That is harder to measure, however monitoring the return of other events and activities is incredibly helpful.
  4. Who decides when it is appropriate for an event to open??
    1. The ultimate decision to reopen a parkrun country is the responsibility of the Trustees of the Global parkrun charity, the global leadership team, the staff leadership team in that country, and, where appropriate, the non-executive board of that country.
    2. Local parkrun communities, public health bodies, and landowners will be kept informed, and consulted with, as part of the decision-making process.
    3. We will always listen to concerns raised by event teams or other local stakeholders, and discuss them in-depth and at length.
    4. Should any volunteer personally not feel comfortable returning then we would always respect and support that.
  5. Why the shorter pre-event briefing and is there any flexibility around this?
    1. The Framework outlines keeping the pre-event briefing to a maximum of two minutes and to critical content only.
    2. We are currently reviewing the details of this section, however, and possibly relax these restrictions in due course as long as a safe time-limit is maintained. Further amendments will be confirmed when possible.
  6. With regards to cleaning kit every week, will this cause damage and will events be able to get enough volunteers?
    1. Washing tokens is currently working very well in New Zealand. However, we are aware of events that do use stickers for lost tokens etc. There has also been discussion around washing and quarantining bibs and other equipment. We are revisiting this area and will report back in due course.
    2. We will directly support any events concerned about the workload required to operate under the COVID-19 protocol.
  7. What kit is compulsory?
    1. Different parkrun locations have different kit requirements but anything that helps guide or organise the participants would be considered essential, for example, arrows, finish funnels, start/finish signs, flags that signify location, first-timer briefing sign, quiet signs etc.
  8. Should events purchase hand sanitiser and will it be reimbursed?
    1. Very importantly, we have no start dates in place and the Framework is provisional. Please, therefore, do not purchase any items at all at this time.
    2. However, if the requirement for events to provide hand sanitiser for volunteers is in place at the time they reopen, we will provide further specific guidance in advance.
  9. How can events socially distance participants?
    1. It is really important that we are honest with ourselves, our communities, and our stakeholders about what we can and can’t do. And, unfortunately, there is no practical way to maintain a mandated physical distance between parkrunners on the start line, on the course, or in the finish funnel of our events, particularly our larger events.
    2. As such, our Framework does not require this to happen.
    3. What we can do is mitigate as much of the risk as practical and then work with public health experts to understand when it is appropriate to have large numbers of people together on the same start line, through the same course, or within the same finish funnel.
    4. We agree that social distancing means more than simply physical distancing and will look to clarify the difference where possible.
  10. Will parkrunners be required to register in advance each time they wish to participate?
    1. Section 2d of the COVID-19 Framework states “All participants are required to register online and in advance of their attendance” this simply refers to the existing process where people register for parkrun and print their barcode. This will be clarified in the Framework.
  11. The COVID-19 Framework mandates use of the Virtual Volunteer mobile application for all events. Common queries so far include:
    1. Waterproof cases: Guidance is currently being reviewed. However, we expect not to allow teams to hold a central supply of cases and distribute them on the day. Many events have been through several winters without cases and so we do not believe them to be essential.
    2. Uploading results to WebFMS later in the day: Results can be uploaded later on the day of an event.
    3. What about multiple timer files? The app will allow multiple timer files.
    4. Can parkrunner barcodes be scanned from a phone? There is no apparent COVID-19 benefit to scanning barcodes from phones and therefore this remains unallowed. Only printed barcodes (tokens, paper, wristbands, cards) should be accepted.
    5. What about unscannable barcodes? This will follow the usual protocol, at a safe distance.
    6. Should volunteers use their own device? All volunteers are to use their own device (excepting in cohabiting situations such as a child using their parent’s device). We will clarify this further.
  12. Will participants be able to leave belongings and bags?
    1. At many events, parkrunners traditionally leave belongings around the start or finish areas.
    2. Whilst it will be acceptable to do this, for example taking off a winter jacket before the event starts, it should be kept to a minimum and shouldn’t be done in a way that either a) encourages close proximity of different people, or b) requires volunteers to move or carry the items.
    3. We will revisit the guidance on this and update accordingly.
  13. What are the implications for toilet facilities?
    1. Events do not formally provide or manage toilet facilities. However, we understand the issues these may cause at a busy event where volunteers feel obliged to manage associated queues etc. in some way. We will revisit this guidance.
  14. Will there be consequences for teams not following the Framework?
    1. Yes - as with pre-COVID-19 teams are required to follow parkrun operating guidelines. Where they do not follow parkrun guidelines we will contact them and discuss the situation.
  15. What about parkrun tourism?
    1. Whilst we will discourage tourism whilst operating during COVID-19 Framework, there are many valid reasons why someone may participate at an event other than their recorded home parkrun.
    2. Events must not attempt to police who does or does not attend their event, and we would actively discourage members of the parkrun community from publicly chastising parkrun tourists.
  16. Will pacers be allowed?
    1. Pacers were not included in the first draft of the Framework and we are currently considering their suitability. It is likely they won’t be allowed as, by definition, they encourage bunching within the participants.
  17. What are the guidelines for guide runners, particularly those guiding people with visual impairments?
    1. We are currently reviewing our position in relation to guide walkers and runners and will update the Framework as soon as possible.
  18. What about face masks and gloves?
    1. At the moment we do not believe that there is robust enough evidence to support mandating the use of face masks or gloves in non-clinical outdoor settings such as parkrun events.
    2. This, alongside the practicality of mandating them for some or all volunteers, means that our position at this time is we are not recommending their use.
    3. Volunteers are free to make their own personal choice as to whether or not they wish to wear them, we are supportive of those that wish to supply their own mask, and we will continue to review the evidence.
  19. Is it okay to deliver cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if necessary?
    1. We do not formally provide first-aiders at our events and as such direct medical intervention is not part of any volunteer role.
    2. However, we do track serious medical incidents very closely and know that critical incidents where CPR is required are exceptionally rare at our events.
    3. Where they do occur, in the overwhelming majority of instances, highly qualified people take control of the situation immediately.
    4. Importantly, the requirement for CPR always suggests an immediate threat to life, and parkrun events would only occur where the community infection level of COVID-19 is incredibly low.
  20. The Framework states that a parkrunner must undergo a self-assessment for COVID-19 and should not attend if they have symptoms. How can we confirm this has been completed?
    1. We cannot confirm this has been completed, rather it is a request that will be issued to all parkrunners directly (to their email) when parkrun commences in their region, as well as more widely through various communication channels.
    2. If volunteers present on the day of an event with apparent symptoms of COVID-19 then they should not be allocated a volunteer role.
    3. We do not have the right to prevent people from walking, jogging or running at our events based on our assumptions relating to COVID-19 symptoms.
    4. There are no requirements for Run Directors to take any action should they believe someone who has COVID-19 is in attendance at their event.
  21. Will a Run Director have a checklist of things they need to do?
    1. We will look to provide a simplified version of the Framework, however, all Run Directors will be required to be familiar with the entire Framework document. Should events wish to create their own checklist they are welcome to do so.
  22. What are the implications of the public not maintaining social distancing guidelines?
    1. This is largely out of our control but in the event of it happening and events being concerned they should log an incident via the normal process in WebFMS and we will provide support.
  23. What about high-risk individuals?
    1. We know many volunteer teams will have a number of people who may be at higher risk of illness if infected with COVID-19. It is not however for our event teams to assume how those people wish to engage with parkrun or to prevent them from doing so.
    2. Our role is to make parkrun events as safe as possible and provide people with enough information to make informed decisions regarding their own perception of risk and desired level of engagement.
    3. We cannot remove all risk and ultimately people will need to make their own decisions and be supported in those going forward.
  24. How will parkrun Track and Trace?
    1. Track and trace requirements vary around the world, from non-existent to presenting QR codes that register attendance, to collecting personal information at the venue itself.
    2. Having considered this in great detail, and balancing the requirements placed on volunteers, with appropriate data protection processes, and the need to respect GDPR, our position at this time is that event teams must not collect any personal data for track and trace purposes at a local level.
    3. We know that this may contradict current published requirements in certain parkrun locations and we know that our current registration and results process is not perfect (i.e. it doesn’t collect addresses or phone numbers) and also that around 5% of participants do not present with a barcode.
    4. However, our ability to understand who was in attendance (walking, running, or volunteering) at any given event on any given day is a particular strength and one that we believe balances out the shortfall in data capture.
    5. Particularly in countries where we have a large number of events, we believe that we already collect enough information and in an accessible enough way that relevant authorities would accept them. Prior to reopening events in any country, we will ensure that our processes regarding this are acceptable to the relevant authorities.
    6. It would also not be practical for us to prevent people from participating if they did not bring a barcode. Our principle of allowing people to participate without a barcode will, therefore, remain, without the need to collect their data. We will, of course, be strongly encouraging people to bring their barcode.
    7. The likely process for supporting public health authorities tracking and tracing would be:
      1. Someone tests positive for COVID-19 and is interviewed by the tracking team.
      2. That individual says they were at a parkrun event.
      3. The tracking team then contacts parkrun locally or centrally.
      4. parkrun then (centrally) contact the participants and/or volunteers from that day with information on behalf of the tracking team
  25. You are describing the Framework as completed, not finalised. What does that mean?
    1. We took the decision to complete (not finalise) our Framework and then publish it globally, well in advance of any opportunity to open an entire parkrun country.
    2. This was to allow a process of feedback from the entire parkrun family.
  26. What about custodial (prison) settings?
    1. Custodial events, as closed and carefully managed environments, will have their own COVID-19 protocols to follow.
    2. We will liaise directly with those events to support their reopening when appropriate for them.
  27. Will there be a template email or recommended wording that states that by a volunteer attending that they have read and will comply with the framework?
    1. Yes, or at least something similar.
    2. We are looking at codes of conduct and simple ways to communicate key information to a large number of people