ORGANISERS of the Dunfermline parkrun are keeping their fingers crossed for a return.

The popular, free, weekly 5K runs are earmarked to resume in England by the end of October, having been halted since COVID-19 restrictions came into force in March.

As yet, no date has been set in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland for the return of parkrun events, which attracted more than 250,000 runners or walkers to take part worldwide before lockdown.

Dunfermline's event, which first took place in July 2015, had been attracting almost 200 participants each week to Pittencrieff Park, while a New Year's Day run saw more than 300 take part.

Elaine Stewart, one of the organising volunteers, told Press Sport: "The answer is we would like to be back but we know that some people have a wee bit more reservations about being back and running with a crowd of people, or in groups.

"It's more particularly at the start and finish when they're congregating. We understand that parkrun have put together a framework to work towards that will try to mitigate all the risks by having people spaced out a bit more, and various other things that we would do when we came to the timing and allotting people their particular position from the run.

"It will be interesting to see what happens in the English cases before parkrun would start back in Scotland.

"We were getting up to almost 200 people a week coming and doing parkrun on a Saturday, which was great, but you need a certain level of volunteers as well and we really don't know if everybody that was a keen parkrunner will remain a keen parkrunner when we get the green light.

"We've really missed it; we still really miss it. We don't put a lot of posts up on our Facebook page but it's apparent that people are going, 'I'm missing seeing everybody'.

"It was quite a social thing. You got familiar with the other people that were there, there were a lot of regulars, and we met for a coffee when we were doing the results processing at the end.

"It was a really good thing for the community and a lot of people that volunteered were also regulars who had no intention of either walking or running the rout but were glad to come every week and just be part of something.

"Going back, if we're not allowed to be so sociable, I don't know how popular it will be if we're told we've got to wear masks or if we're not allowed to go up and speak to people, and if we've to discourage people hanging around at the end.

"I think it's just a wait and see."

Elaine continued: "We don't know how the people of Dunfermline will feel about it if they suddenly see 150 people running through the park again on a Saturday morning – how comfortable are the community going to be about us being back?

"There are a lot of questions around it and very little certainty at the moment, especially with the recent rule of six where you're not to meet with more than six people even outdoors.

"We'd like it to happen, we don't know when it's going to happen, hopefully when we get back there everybody will feel positive and reinvigorated and happy to get back.

"One of the things we think we will do as a local parkrun is change our start line, so that it's not so narrow. We might change the route ever so slightly so we're at a wider part of the park so that people can spread out but, as I say, we don't have the go-ahead yet.

"We're sad about it but we're hopeful we'll get back before too long."