Now parkrun doubles on New Years Day have become the best way to kick off the New Year and its fun working out which two parkruns to do but this tradition is now no more, here is statement that came out of parkrun HQ yesterday:
Ever since 2004 we have held special extra parkruns on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
Over the years, additional events could be held on special days across the festive period including Christmas Eve, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve and for a while it was possible to participate in up to three parkruns on New Year’s Day.
In fact there were a number of years when you could record up to eight parkruns in just seven days over the holiday period.
However as the number of events increased it became clear that this situation placed further demands on volunteers and parkrun staff during the traditional holiday period. So in time, we moved to:
An optional special event on a day of a country’s choosing (e.g. Christmas Day in the UK or Thanksgiving in the US) at the usual start time.
An optional event on 1 January with the start time varied to allow participation at two different events.
For the past couple of years we have been monitoring the situation. As participation at parkrun events has increased, and with it the popularity of and attendances at New Year’s Day doubles, we have decided to review our policy.
Whilst we recognise that New Year’s Day doubles have become something of a tradition, and that largely they are a fun and good natured part of the parkrun experience, we also have to balance this against risk, safety, and the continued good relationships we require with landowners and the general public.
We know that long distances are often travelled between events on New Year’s Day, which potentially puts road users at risk, and that making the start time for the second event is only achievable by quicker participants in some places.
We also see that very often there is a funneling effect at the second event. With more participants than usual on 1 January but with fewer events to go to as some events choose not to host an additional event, the result is significantly higher attendances at many events (sometimes 5-6 times a typical average attendance), which puts pressure on the volunteer team, has caused issues of late with landowners, and creates much busier car parks, cafes and paths. This is compounded by some events taking place later in the morning than usual, resulting in more congestion and conflict with other park users.
For these reasons, we have taken the decision to remove the option for New Year’s Day doubles. We will still allow events to host an additional parkrun on 1 January, at their usual start time.
Whilst we appreciate this might be disappointing news to some, we are still committed to retaining 1 January as an optional additional parkrunday. Our hope is that by removing the pressure of the double, event teams will feel comfortable hosting an extra parkrun if they wish to, providing an opportunity for the whole community to meet up and enjoy the New Year’s Day parkrun experience