After 13 months of inactivity, a handful of parkruns in South Africa will restart on Saturday 29 May at 8am.
That is the good news as confirmed by parkrun SA founder Bruce Fordyce on Tuesday.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel. I’m optimistic,” said Fordyce.
“Everything will be done according to all the safety protocols… there will be sanitiser at the start, everyone will be asked to wear their masks at the start and there will be no hanging around.
“It’ll be a case of arriving, running, and leaving.”
Fordyce wouldn’t say which parkruns would be back in action. “They’re the small ones that are far away.”
As no events with more than 500 people are allowed, it would appear that just a handful of parkruns in small locations and with just a few regular runners will get the ball rolling again in South Africa.
“There will be absolutely no danger of anyone breaking protocol and the risks of catching Covid are so small,” said Fordyce.
A groundbreaking independent report, commissioned by parkrun, has been published and, for the first time, estimates the risk of transmission of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) at parkrun events.
Find out more ???? https://t.co/h5Lt8CSOau
— parkrun South Africa (@parkrunSA) May 15, 2021
“We have strategised which events can go ahead safely, where there is no way of the numbers getting too high.
“We don’t want anyone travelling to events that are not their home events.
“This is a start, a statement that parkrun is not dead. We are going to make a gradual, safe return, keep an eye on developments and how things progress with the vaccinations and so on.
“We’ll see what happens with this initial first group and assess things and then hopefully start a few more.”
Thousands of park runners have been starved for over a year of their weekly dose of exercise, something Fordyce feels has had a huge impact on society.
“People have been going demented with no parkruns,” he said.
“Lockdown and the cancellation of these types of events has not been healthy for people.
“We all need to get out there, get some exercise and get some fresh air. Being out in the open makes your chances of catching Covid almost nil, so I hope this is a step in the right direction.”