Parkrun organizers have announced that the massive jogging events will return on June 26 if Freedom Day continues.
It follows a flurry of belated council approvals in the past 24 hours after organizers began to fear the coronavirus could spell the end of popular runs.
There are 300,000 regular participants in the free 5km timed event which takes place in green spaces across the UK.
The events are now authorized by 506 of the 589 local councils and landowners across England, the report said Guardian.
This is a dramatic increase from last month when only 250 events were allowed.
In the Northeast, the situation looked particularly grim earlier this week, with 100,000 runners registering for unlicensed events.
In just 24 hours, that number has dropped to 8,000, while London has now approved 37 events out of a total of 56.
It follows a flurry of belated council approvals in the past 24 hours after organizers began to fear the coronavirus could spell the end of popular runs. Pictured, an earlier park run in Hyde Park, Leeds
It means that Parkrun alone cannot continue if the government decides to postpone the June 21 Freedom Day.
A Parkrun insider told the paper: “The big news for us is that the fear we had that Parkrun would be endangered is no more.
“We now have enough clearance to come back. So whether it’s June 26 or a little later, we’ll be back to help communities across Britain.”
It comes after World Athletics president Seb Coe intervened by expressing support for the events last month.
He said, “As more of everyday life returns, we must not forget the things that quietly, efficiently, (perhaps almost without us realizing it), provide some of the greatest benefits of all.”
In May, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden wrote to all UK councils asking them to resume weekly Parkrun events in their area.
Despite organized outdoor sports activities being allowed without a limit on numbers since March 29, the local 5km fun runs have still not started due to reluctance from municipalities and other landowners.
Parkrun previously said it was delaying reopening the plan in England and Northern Ireland until June 26 because not enough councils had given them permission to host the events.
It said 250 sites in England had given them permission to run on June 5, but that was not enough to prevent overcrowding and people coming from other areas to join in.
Organizers said they hoped the runs would resume on July 3 in Scotland and were awaiting confirmation of a date for reopening in Wales.
The letter from Mr. Dowden and Mr. Jenrick highlighted how essential physical activity is to the public’s mental health.
Parkrun previously said it was delaying reopening the plan in England and Northern Ireland until June 26 because not enough councils had given them permission to host the events. Pictured, an event in Hyde Park, Leeds
“Hundreds of thousands of people enjoy Parkrun every weekend and these hugely popular free events are much loved by communities across the country,” they said.
“We appreciate the pressure that local authorities are experiencing to ensure that applications for organized outdoor sports, such as Parkrun, are carefully considered and carried out safely.”
They added: “Organized outdoor sports are exempt from legal gathering restrictions and can take place with any number of participants, as long as it is practiced in accordance with published Covid safe guidelines.”
Mr Jenrick, MP for Newark in Nottinghamshire, and Mr Dowden, MP for Hertsmere in Hertfordshire, said public concerns about delays at Parkrun ‘highlight how important these events are to people across the country’.
About 150 landowners, including some local authorities, have either refused permission for Parkrun to return or ignored correspondence from organizers, the letter said.
It added: “Parkrun needs about 80 percent of Parkruns to continue to prevent people from traveling across the country from areas where Parkrun is not operating, to areas that are.”
The letter said that research has shown that mass participation events such as marathons and fun runs can take place safely, adding, “In the interest of public health, they must now start over.”
“We look forward to Parkrun’s return and hope we can personally join some of the millions of active runners and volunteers at our local events in Aldenham and Newark respectively,” said Jenrick and Dowden.