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The first Eagan parkrun in more than 14 months is scheduled for 9 a.m. May 22 at Thomas Lake Park.

Weekly 5K returns to Thomas Lake Park

The Eagan parkrun will be up and running again starting May 22.

The parkrun is a free weekly timed 5K run at every Saturday at 9 a.m. Thomas Lake Park, 4425 Pilot Knob Road, that started back in 2017.

The events have been postponed since March 7, 2020.

“We’re super excited about it,” event director Nate Damro said. “We try to make it easy and keep people safe. ... This spring more and more people were sending me emails asking when it was coming back. I think a lot of people want to get back at it.”

Before the pandemic, Eagan parkrun held 138 events averaging about 43 people per week.

“We’ve canceled before due to extreme cold or lightning, but nothing like this,” Damro said. “It was an easy decision at the time.”

The idea of a parkrun started in 2004 in the United Kingdom.

There’s no cost. It’s open to anyone. Participants run or walk 5 kilometers (3.1 miles).

Eagan was the ninth site in the United States when it started in 2017, but now there’s about 50 locations.

Eagan is the only one in Minnesota. The next closest location is in Madison, Wis.

Global parkrun officials recently gave the OK for parkruns in the United States to start back up depending on local health and safety regulations.

“We talked to the city, and they were supportive as long as we could meet the local guidelines,” Damro said.

While the event is free, organizers ask people to register ahead of time.

Participants will receive a barcode they should print before arriving. That’s how they’ll get a time.

One of the changes is that volunteers will use a phone app to scan in runners and time people.

“That way contact with participants is completely eliminated,” Damro said.

Damro said they’re also doing extra washing of bibs and timing chips.

As of now, he said, it’s his understanding that wearing a mask outdoors won’t be required.

“Now that groups of up to 500 can gather and there’s no requirement for a mask outside; that’s what we understand,” Damro said. “We’re following the direction of the state health department on outside youth and adult sports.”

The event is run by volunteers, and they’re always looking for more.

“It’s always good to have a variety of volunteers,” Damro said. “That way people can take a week off to participate or do something else.”

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