Parkrun

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Parkrun logo

Parkrun (styled as parkrun) is the name given to a collection of five-kilometre running events that take place every Saturday morning in eighteen countries[1] across five continents (Namibia and Swaziland are listed under the South Africa Parkrun country website). Each Parkrun territory has its own sponsors. Events are run by volunteers, and participation is free of charge.

Runners are required to register online in advance for a unique athlete number and to print their own identification barcode for use when taking part.[2][3][4] Runners' results in each event are processed and uploaded online after the run by volunteers. Each registered runner has an individual page cataloguing the details of each event in which they have participated. Junior Parkrun (styled as junior parkrun) is a spin-off event which provides a 2 km run for children aged 4–14 weekly on a Sunday morning.

History

The first Parkrun event to launch was the Bushy Parkrun, which was founded by Paul Sinton-Hewitt in 2004. Originally called the Bushy Park Time Trial, it grew into a small collection of events called the UK Time Trials. In 2007, the second event was launched at Wimbledon Common, while the first outside of London was launched in Leeds later that year. The UK Time Trials were renamed Parkrun in 2008. The first event outside of the United Kingdom was launched in Denmark in 2009.

Events now take place every week in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Singapore, the Czech Republic,[5] the United States, Italy, France and Germany. Parkruns have previously been operated in Zimbabwe and Iceland. There was also formerly a Parkrun at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan, which was operated by Parkrun UK. Sinton-Hewitt was presented the Runner's World 'Heroes of Running' award for philanthropy for his work with Parkrun in 2009 and became a CBE in the Queen's birthday honours 2014 for 'services to grass roots sports participation'.[6]

Global participation first exceeded 10,000 in April 2011 and 20,000 in August 2012. Neither participation nor event numbers show any sign of slowing with global participation first exceeding 30,000 in April 2013 (225 events), 40,000 in August 2013 (282 events), 50,000 in November 2013 (317 events), 60,000 in January 2014 (340 events), 70,000 in April 2014 (386 events), and more than 100,000 by April 2016 (more than 730 events).[7]

Just over 332,000 individuals did their first run with Parkrun in 2013, taking the total number of individuals who have ever run with Parkrun to 663,900. Just over 1.95 million runs were recorded in 2013 taking the total number of runs since it started in 2004 to 3.92 million runs. Making all this possible were the contributions of 42,800 unique volunteers who volunteered in excess of 180,000 times across 362 events or locations while delivering 14,015 events during the year. 153 new events were added in 2013. In May 2014 the 1,000,000 registrant mark was passed.

By 24 December 2015, there were over two million registered Parkrunners globally, together having done over 12.5 million runs, with one million instances of volunteering. Come December 2016, Parkrun "athlete" number 3,000,001 had been issued, representing over 2,000,000 participants with runners using over 1,000 parks worldwide. On 3 November 2017, Parkrun athlete ID number 4,000,000 was issued to a new parkrunner in South Africa.[citation needed]

Volunteers

Each Parkrun event is run entirely by volunteers. To assist the volunteers, Parkrun HQ provides the necessary equipment and there are several different volunteer roles at each Parkrun event.[8] Every event has a 'volunteer' page, with the same basic information about how to get involved as a volunteer, as well as crediting those who have made the effort in the most recent week.[9] The Parkrun website credits those who volunteer each week as "the heart" of Parkrun, and integral to its not-for-profit status.[10] It also provides a useful range of responses to commonly asked questions about volunteering, with information on each of the different roles, in its FAQ section.[11] It is recommended that runners volunteer three times over the course of a year to help their local Parkrun function sustainably.[12]

Events

Most events take place in public parks. Some take place at other locations such as beaches (Portrush, Hastings), stately homes (Holkham Hall, Wimpole Estate, Lytham Hall) and even a prison (HMP Haverigg)[13].

A list of international Parkrun websites is available from the countries link on the Parkrun site.

As of 2 December 2017, Parkrun 5km events and Junior 2km events are held in the following countries:

Main events

Country Locations Cite First event location First event date
United Kingdom United Kingdom 484 [14] [a] Bushy Park 2 October 2004
Australia Australia 261 [15] Main Beach 2 April 2011
South Africa South Africa 114 [16] [b] Delta Park 12 November 2011
Republic of Ireland Ireland 72 [17] Malahide Castle 10 November 2012
Poland Poland 51 [18][c] Gdynia 15 October 2011
Russia Russia 31 [19] Kolomenskoe, Severnoye Tushino District 1 March 2014
New Zealand New Zealand 18 [20] Lower Hutt 5 May 2012
United States United States 12 [21] Livonia, Michigan 2 June 2012
Canada Canada 11 [22] Kelowna 20 August 2016
France France 8 [23] Cubnezais 6 May 2015
Denmark Denmark 7 [24] Amager 16 May 2009
Italy Italy 6 [25] Palermo 23 May 2015
Sweden Sweden 5 [26] Hagaparken 27 August 2016
Germany Germany 5 [27] Georgengarten, Leipzig(Küchenholz) & Neckarau 2 December 2017
Singapore Singapore 2 [28] East Coast Park 21 June 2014
Namibia Namibia 1 [16] Swakopmund 8 April 2017
Finland Finland 1 [29] Tampere 14 October 2017
Swaziland Swaziland 1 [16] Mbabane 6 May 2017
Norway Norway 1 [30] Tøyen, Oslo 26 August 2017
Jersey Jersey 1 [14][31] Saint Brelade 26 September 2015
Guernsey Guernsey 1 [14][32] L'Ancresse 9 April 2016

Junior events

Country Locations Cite First event location First event date
United Kingdom United Kingdom 196 [33] Bushy Park 1 April 2010
Republic of Ireland Ireland 13 [33] Rush, Dublin 13 December 2015
  1. ^ UK events currently also includes those for Jersey and Guernsey (which are not in the UK); the total for the UK has been reduced accordingly.
  2. ^ South Africa events currently also include those for Namibia and Swaziland, the total for South Africa has been reduced accordingly.
  3. ^ Includes Cieszyn Parkrun which starts in Poland but is run partly in the Czech Republic

Junior Parkrun events

By May 2013 there were four 2 km junior events, held once a month. In 2014, Parkrun UK relaunched the junior Parkrun series in the United Kingdom. These events are weekly, free, 2 km running events taking place in pleasant parkland. Junior Parkrun is open to runners from age 4 to 14.

As of 23 January 2017, combined worldwide statistics for all junior events:[34]

A 10 Club has been established for juniors who have completed ten 5 km runs. Additionally, coloured wristbands are given to children who have run 11, 21 or 50 2 km junior runs.

Conflicts with local authorities

In September 2011, Cardiff City Council suspended the Parkrun after complaints that the pathway was completely blocked by runners, thus creating safety issues. The event was re-instated following further discussion with the council.[35]

Due to its policy of keeping its runs free to enter, Parkrun has refused to start events if the local council charges the organisers or runners.[36] In April 2016, the parish council in Stoke Gifford (a suburb of Bristol) voted to charge runners a fee to participate in the local Parkrun, to fund path maintenance.[37] The event had begun, with the council's permission, in Little Stoke Park in November 2012.[38] Despite support from the Sports Minister and an online petition, the council would not change its decision, so the remaining planned 2016 events were cancelled.[39] In April 2017 the British Government announced that local councils in England would not, in future, be allowed to charge free fun runs for the use of a public park.[40]

Technology

Parkrun makes extensive use of electronic timing and barcode technology to generate the results of each event. When registering with Parkrun, runners print out a personal barcode which encodes their unique athlete number. As runners cross the finish line, their time is recorded electronically by a volunteer using a stopwatch that can export data to a computer. The runner is also handed a barcoded tag which tells them their finish position. Runners then take the tag to a second volunteer who scans the runner's personal barcode and scans the barcode on their finish tag. This allows a computer system to record the finish position and identity of each runner.

The finish times and athlete numbers (with their finish position) are uploaded to a server which automatically generates the results tables and statistics on the Parkrun web site. The use of the unique runner number allows the web site to collate historical data including personal bests, overall performance, and total number of runs.[41]

Milestone clubs

There are five different clubs to which a runner registered with Parkrun can belong: the '10 Club' for runners aged 17 or below who have completed 10 or more runs, and the '50 Club', '100 Club', '250 Club' and '500 Club' for anyone who has completed that number of runs. Anyone in the world entering a 'club' is given a T-shirt with a number on the back to represent the club they are in. So far, the cost of the T-shirts has been funded by sponsors and the T-shirts are free of charge to runners.

The T-shirts are colour coded: 10 (White); 50 (Red); 100 (Black); 250 (Green, although an older variant was gold & black) and 500 (Blue). There is also a shirt (purple) for those that have been a volunteer 25 times or more.

As of 14 September 2017 there were 65,988 in the junior '10 Club' and in the adult clubs:[42]

Statistics

As of 14 September 2017, combined worldwide statistics for all events:[43]

  • Biggest attendance at one run: 2,092 (At the final week of the now closed 'Voortrekker Monument Parkrun' in Pretoria, South Africa)[44].
  • Highest attendance at an active Parkrun: 2,082 (3 June 2017, 'North Beach Parkrun' in Durban, South Africa)[45].
  • Female record holder (running): Hannah Walker (15:55, set at St Albans Parkrun on 27 July 2013),[46]
  • Male record holder (running): Andy Baddeley (13:48, set at Bushy Park Parkrun on 11 August 2012) [47]
  • Female record holder (running assisted): Elaine Sherwin (15:13, set at Kingsbury Water Parkrun on 11 February 2017 with a canicross dog ),[48]
  • Male record holder (running assisted): Ben Robinson (13:23, set at Penrose Parkrun on 12 August 2017 with a canicross dog) [49]
  • Female record holder (wheelchair): Lizzie Williams (15:27, set at Dulwich Parkrun)[50]
  • Male record holder (wheelchair): Danny Sidbury (12:12, set at Dulwich Parkrun on 19 March 2016) [51]
  • Age-graded record holder: Fauja Singh (179.04%, set when finishing Valentines Parkrun in 38:34 on 31 March 2012, the day before his 101st birthday)

References

  1. ^ "Our countries". Retrieved 13 October 2017. 
  2. ^ "TimeOut – Bushy Park Time Trial". Retrieved 21 April 2008. 
  3. ^ 2008 Reuters' article about Parkrun
  4. ^ 2010 Reuters' article about Parkrun
  5. ^ Cieszyn Parkrun is run partly in Poland and partly in the Czech Republic "Parkrun Poland". Retrieved 15 August 2015. 
  6. ^ Runners World – Heroes of Running
  7. ^ Parkrun historical chart
  8. ^ Example from Durham parkun http://www.parkrun.org.uk/durham/news/2013/03/12/volunteer-roles/
  9. ^ Bushy Parkrun volunteer information http://www.parkrun.org.uk/bushy/volunteer/
  10. ^ Parkrun volunteer information
  11. ^ "Volunteering: All you need to know about volunteering at parkrun events". Parkrun. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  12. ^ "parkrun www.parkrun.org.uk". baRUNNER. 7 December 2013. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  13. ^ The Mail (Cumbria), http://www.nwemail.co.uk/news/millom/Haverigg-prisoners-reveal-plans-to-go-on-the-run-af04cb91-4ac0-404e-a7f8-e0599ab4b685-ds
  14. ^ a b c "parkrun UK". Parkrun. 
  15. ^ "parkrun Australia". Parkrun. 
  16. ^ a b c "parkrun South Africa". Parkrun. 
  17. ^ "parkrun Ireland". Parkrun. 
  18. ^ "parkrun Poland". Parkrun. 
  19. ^ "parkrun Russia". Parkrun. 
  20. ^ "parkrun New Zealand". Parkrun. 
  21. ^ "parkrun USA". Parkrun. 
  22. ^ "parkrun Canada". Parkrun. 
  23. ^ "parkrun France". Parkrun. 
  24. ^ "parkrun Denmark". Parkrun. 
  25. ^ "parkrun Italy". Parkrun. 
  26. ^ "parkrun Sweden". Parkrun. 
  27. ^ "parkrun Germany". Parkrun. 
  28. ^ "parkrun Singapore". Parkrun. 
  29. ^ "parkrun Finland". Parkrun. 
  30. ^ "parkrun Norway". Parkrun. 
  31. ^ "Jersey parkrun - Weekly Free 5km Timed Run". 
  32. ^ "Guernsey parkrun - Weekly Free 5km Timed Run". 
  33. ^ a b "Junior parkrun". Parkrun. 
  34. ^ "junior Parkrun". Parkrun UK. Retrieved 23 January 2017. 
  35. ^ "Weekly park running race banned by council on safety grounds". WalesOnline. 21 March 2013. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  36. ^ "How Parkrun became a global phenomenon". The Independent. 28 December 2015. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  37. ^ "Council votes to charge Parkrun for Little Stoke event". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  38. ^ "Little Stoke parkrun # 1 - 03/11/2012". Parkrun UK. 
  39. ^ "Minister backs free Parkrun after Stoke Gifford furore". BBC News. 21 April 2016. Retrieved 27 April 2016. 
  40. ^ "Ban on council park fun run fees proposed in England". BBC. 15 April 2017. 
  41. ^ "Parkrun FAQ". Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  42. ^ "Parkrun - Our Clubs". Parkrun. Retrieved 14 September 2017. 
  43. ^ "Welcome to parkrun". Parkrun. Retrieved 14 September 2017. 
  44. ^ "Voortrekker Monument parkrun, Pretoria # 146 - 28/01/2017". Parkrun UK. 
  45. ^ "Attendance Records". Parkrun UK. 
  46. ^ "Course Records". Parkrun UK. 
  47. ^ "Course Records". Parkrun UK. 
  48. ^ "Course Records". Parkrun UK. 
  49. ^ "Course Records". Parkrun UK. 
  50. ^ "Dulwich parkrun Sub 20 Women". Parkrun UK. Retrieved 7 December 2016. 
  51. ^ "Dulwich parkrun # 209 - 19/03/2016". Parkrun UK. 

Further reading

  • Bourne, Debra (2014). Parkrun: much more than just a run in the park. Chequered Flag Publishing. ISBN 9780956946072. 

External links

  • Official website
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