Hopes of the return of Birkenhead parkrun early next month have been dashed by the event's national organisors.

It had been hoped that the popular free 5k event, that was attracting as many as 700 participants a week in Wirral before the pandemic, would restart on June 5.

Chances were boosted further when Wirral Council approved resumption of the event at Birkenhead Park earlier this week.

A statement said: "parkrun UK has announced that it has been forced to delay the planned reopening of 5k events in England on Saturday 5 June.

"Although more than 250 events do have landowner permission to return, this falls far short of the critical mass needed to prevent overwhelming those that have been given the go ahead. 

"With more than three million registered parkrunners across England, and around 300,000 people taking part on a typical weekend, opening a small subset of parkruns is not viable."

In ongoing discussions, where landowners were withholding permission, parkrun organisers sought clarification on whether permission would be granted for a later date.

With a number of landowners responding positively, parkrun UK will now target Saturday 26 June to resume all 5k events across England.

A decision will be made regarding the go ahead for this new date on Friday 11 June.

Nick Pearson, parkrun Global CEO said: “We will continue to work hard with landowners over the coming weeks to secure the permissions needed to return at the end of June.

"We are incredibly grateful to all of the landowners who have granted events permission to return so far, and for the groundswell of support for parkrun over recent days.

"Although it is disappointing not to be able to return on 5 June, we are still optimistic that we can return parkrun events to nearly 600 communities across England very soon.

"We will do everything we can to ensure events restart on 26 June.”