Parkrun: The key change coming for dog owners who take part in 5k events this April

Runners who participate with their dog at 5k events will not be permitted to use waist harnesses from Saturday, April 2.

By Emma Downey
Thursday, 3rd March 2022, 4:55 am
Updated Thursday, 3rd March 2022, 2:41 pm

From Saturday, April 2, Preston park runners will no longer be permitted to use waist harnesses for their dogs.

A spokesperson for parkrun said “While we understand that this may be disappointing for some park runners, it is a change based on clear evidence contained within our incident database and which we believe will significantly reduce the risks associated with dogs at parkrun.”

They added: “One dog per participant, kept under firm control on a short lead, or a harness with a short lead, and care must be taken to avoid tripping others.

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“However, to provide greater clarity, and to address a growing issue, this is changing to one dog on a short, handheld, non-extendable lead by the side of the participant, and within reach at all times. Care must also be taken to avoid tripping other park runners.

“Over ten percent of incidents at parkrun events involve dogs, and as such we have spent significant time considering the nature, frequency, and severity of dog-related incidents.”

“Our evidence shows that, when participants use waist harnesses, there is an increased risk of serious incidents, particularly trips and falls, compared to when using handheld leads. These are typically associated with dogs running in front of other participants, and are occurring when people are together in groups, when people with dogs are overtaking others, and when people with dogs are being overtaken.

From Saturday, April 2, park runners will no longer be permitted to use waist harnesses when participating with their dog.

“Our commitment has always been, and always will be, to support participation with dogs wherever appropriate to do so.”