New London Assembly members call for Parkrun to resume next month

By Joe Talora, local democracy reporter

Two new London Assembly members have stepped in to assist efforts to resume Parkrun events next month.

Labour’s Krupesh Hirani and the Conservative Party’s Neil Garratt, both elected to the London Assembly earlier this month, have added their names to the list of politicians calling on local authorities to resume the popular events from the beginning of June.

The weekly local 5km runs are yet to resume, despite organised outdoor sports being allowed without a cap on numbers since March 29 under the easing of lockdown rules.

Organisers have said that a lack of permission from local councils and other landowners is preventing the events from going ahead any sooner than June 26.

But Harrow and Brent Assembly member Krupesh Hirani has written to event organisers in his constituency to offer his help in reaching out to local councils, while Neil Garratt has written to councils in his constituency of Croydon and Sutton calling on them to resume the events by June 5.

Mr Hirani said it is “vital that we take every opportunity to get active and bring our communities back together” in a safe way as lockdown restrictions are eased.

He said: “As a regular Parkrunner myself, I know how important these events are when it comes to boosting our community’s mental and physical health.

“They attract people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.

“The organisers have spent many months working closely with the Government to put in place a framework for hundreds of Parkruns across the country to safely start up again. Alongside runners and walkers, Parkrun’s team of volunteers are raring to go.”

Meanwhile Mr Garratt has said “there’s no reason to delay” the resumption of the events as they are “within the rules”.

He said: “After a year of lockdown, people are raring to get moving again. Parkrun is a great way to do that. But for that to happen, we need councils to give permission for the events to resume, and so far Croydon and Sutton have not.

“As we all know, exercise is good not only for people’s physical health but mental wellbeing, and the friendly Parkrun events are a great way to do that. That’s why I want to see Parkrun going again.

“So many people use these free events locally, and restarting the project will encourage many more to get fit after lockdown.”

Last week, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan published an open letter in support of Parkrun events returning, while cabinet ministers Robert Jenrick and Oliver Dowden have this week written to all councils in England to “strongly urge” them to ensure that the events return “as soon as possible”.

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Croydon – South London News