For those who aren’t aware of it, Parkrun is a 5km running event that takes place in parks all over the UK every Saturday. Participation is free. All you need to do is register on their website, bring along your bar code and join in. On completion, your race time is texted to you.
This Saturday morning at 9am, there will be around 250 park runs with around 50 000 people taking part. With more events coming on stream and the introduction of a Junior 2km run, numbers will continue to grow. It’s a phenomenal achievement and in my opinion has done as much as the London Olympics – which remember cost £9 billion – to encourage participation in sport.
I think it’s success is driven by a number of factors:
It’s easy to participate: simply register, get a bar code and you’re ready to run. By the end of the year there will be around a million registered park runners in the UK
It’s Inclusive: anyone can take part. It’s not about winning, it’s about joining in. A huge diversity of people of all ages and all levels of fitness take part
It’s free: Parkrun does have a series of sponsors to help fund the events and you do get the opportunity to donate. However, there’s no need to pay anything.
It’s local: there’s bound to be a park run near to where you live, which makes It easy to squeeze into a busy weekend.
It creates a community: there’s lots of opportunities to participate. As well as the comradery of the event itself, Parkrun relies on volunteers to help organise and marshall the events and there’s lots of opportunity to connect via social media
So, once again well done to Parkrun. It appears now that Parkrun is spreading to other countries so no doubt it’ll grow into a global phenomenon
Now that the weather’s improving, I hope to see this Saturday at Brockwell Park.