Is the end of the road in sight for local parkruns?
The problems behind the scenes at Parkrun HQ finally hit boiling point this week following a highly controversial decision to delete speed and course records from the regular Saturday morning results data.
This unjustified and totally unnecessary action could eventually spell the beginning of the end for hundreds of thousands of runners if further restrictions, omissions, and deletions/adjustments to finishing times, records, and age category results are implemented.
This is the latest update from the BBC which has left hundreds of parkrun organisers and volunteers completely baffled...
PARKRUN WILL NO LONGER PUBLISH DATA ABOUT FIRST AND FAST FINISHERS, AGE GRADE, OR CATEGORY RECORDS...
Report from the BBC online. 8/2/24.
Parkrun says it has removed data such as speed records from its website to be less "off-putting" to new entrants.
It will no longer publish data including most first finishes, sub-17-minute men and sub-20 minute women, and age grade or category records.
Parkrun says it is working to "find ways to remove barriers to registration and participation".
It comes amid criticism it has faced for allowing transgender women to participate in the female category.
In December, think tank Policy Exchange said its analysis found that at least three Parkrun female records are held by transgender women.
Parkrun told BBC Sport it has been looking into making such changes to the data it publishes since before the Covid pandemic, and the decision is not in reaction to the transgender issue.
"As parkrun has grown over the years we have made many changes to our digital communication including things such as layout, design, imagery and the language we use - and will continue to do so as we evolve," Parkrun said in a statement.
"We try hard to make sure the information we share is consistent with our values, and that, in all that we do, we continue to find ways to remove barriers to registration and participation.
"We know that our websites are an important source of information for all parkrunners, especially those who are new and yet to take part, and we therefore established a global working group to consider how we can present data in a way that is not off-putting and doesn't imply that parkrun is a race.
"This project group has spent many months now making detailed investigations and recommendations.
"What was clear is that there was a disconnect between the performance data displayed so prominently on the site, and our mission to create opportunities for as many people as possible to take part in parkrun events - especially those who are anxious about activities such as parkrun, but who potentially have an enormous amount to gain."
*Parkrun participants will continue to receive personalised results emails, and both individual profile pages and event results pages will stay the same. Parkrun is a free 5km community event that takes place at more than 800 locations. To date, there have been more than three million finishers.