Encouraging news for Parkrun fans
New research commissioned by Parkrun has boosted hopes of more outdoor sports events returning.
The report concluded that outdoor sports events can, if carefully organised, be held without significantly increasing the Covid-19 risk – raising the prospect of more activities returning and also the return of fans at major sporting fixtures.
Parkrun, an organisation that oversees free, weekly, running and walking community events at 729 locations around the world, intends to use the evidence to help draw up its own guidelines for bringing back the popular events.
Undertaken by the Centre for Sport, Physical Education & Activity Research at Canterbury Christ Church University, the review looked at evidence of incidents of outdoor transmission of Covid-19, as well as comparing the rates of transmission to those indoors.
The study considered high-profile mass gatherings in sport, such as Liverpool’s match against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League and the Cheltenham Festival, and reported that any increased spread may have been as much about associated activities, such as travel and mingling in bars, restaurants or homes, as the gatherings at the actual events.
But while the review concluded that outdoor settings generally present lower risk of transmission than indoor settings, it also highlighted key considerations for event organisers – density, circulation, size and duration of the event.
The review also highlighted the importance of considering risks outside of the events themselves, such as modes of transport, socialising at indoor venues, and overnight accommodation.
Tom Williams, Chief Operating Officer, parkrun Global, said: “As one of the largest event-providers in the world it provides us with further robust evidence on which to develop our COVID-19 operating Framework.”
Professor Mike Weed, Professor of Applied Policy Sciences, Canterbury Christ Church University, said: “We were excited to be asked by parkrun to carry out this review, and impressed at their determination to understand the evidence around this subject area.
“Our review leads us to conclude that, with appropriate evidence-based mitigations in place, it is possible to deliver outdoor events and activities across a range of sectors, and of varying sizes and formats, in a way that does not significantly increase risk of COVID-19 transmission.”