Northern Ireland news

Parkruns across Ireland shut down amid coronavirus fears

Weekly parkruns have been cancelled in Northern Ireland one week after a shit down in the Republic

HUNDREDS of parkruns in Northern Ireland and Britain have been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Organisers said the closure of the 5k runs would be in place initially until the end of March, but was likely to continue into April.

Parkrun events take place every Saturday, typically in pleasant parkland surroundings, and are free and open to everyone.

Waterworks in north Belfast was the first to launch in November 2010 and the number of events across Ireland has spiralled. There are 33 in the north and 96 in the Republic.

Numbers in the north stayed healthy last Saturday as runners remained undeterred by the Covid-19 outbreak.

Events in the Republic were cancelled, however, leading to a bizarre situation where runners could still travel to Derry and Rostrevor to take part.

Several other high-profile road races in the north have already been postponed, including the Belfast marathon, Larne half marathon and the Queen's 5k race around the river.

Parkrun's chief operating officer Tom Williams confirmed all events were suspended worldwide.

"An incredibly difficult decision to make, but everyone involved has been utterly incredible," he said.

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