Parkrun

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Parkrun (styled as parkrun) is the name given to a collection of five-kilometre running events that take place every Saturday morning in fourteen countries across five continents. Each Parkrun territory has its own sponsors. Because of the sponsorship all are free to take part in.

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.[1][2][3] 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[edit]

Founded by Paul Sinton-Hewitt in 2004, the idea of Parkrun grew from the initial Bushy Parkrun event (originally called Bushy Park Time Trial) into a small collection of events called the UK Time Trials and then into Parkrun (2010). Events now take place every week in Australia, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Singapore, the Czech Republic,[4] the United States, Italy and France. 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'.[5]

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).[6][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.[7]

Volunteers[edit]

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[edit]

The first event was held in Bushy Park in 2004. It was 2007 before expanding beyond one event. 2009 saw the first international event in Denmark. By March 2014 there were 371 Parkrun events taking place worldwide. Two years after that, in March 2016, there were over 840 parks. A list of international Parkrun websites is available from the countries link on the Parkrun site.

As of 12 September 2016, Parkrun 5k event parks and Junior 2k event parks are held in the following countries:

  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. ^ Includes Cieszyn parkrun which starts in Poland but is run partly in the Czech Republic
  3. ^ As the list of Junior events currently also includes those for Ireland, the total for the UK has been reduced accordingly.

Junior Parkrun events[edit]

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 28 September 2016, combined worldwide statistics for all junior events:[30]

A 10 Club has been established for Juniors who have completed ten 5km runs.

Conflicts with local authorities[edit]

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.[31]

Due to their policy of keeping their runs free to enter, Parkrun have refused to start events if the local council charges the organisers or runners.[32] In April 2016, Stoke Gifford. an English parish council, voted to charge runners a fee to participate in the local Parkrun, to fund path maintenance.[33] Despite support from the Sports Minister and an online petition, the council would not change their decision, so the remaining planned 2016 events were cancelled.[34]

Technology[edit]

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, total number of runs and to calculate the number of points earned.[35]

Parkrun clubs[edit]

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 28 September 2016:[36]

Statistics[edit]

As of 28 September 2016, combined worldwide statistics for all events:[37]

  • Biggest attendance at one run: 1,874 (North Beach - Durban, South Africa)[38]
  • Female record holder (running): Hannah Walker (15:55, set at St Albans Parkrun on 27 July 2013),[39] although Elaine Sherwin set a canicross-assisted record of 15:34 with her dog Daphne at Kingsbury Parkrun on 12 December 2015)
  • Male record holder (running): Andy Baddeley (13:48, set at Bushy parkrun on 11 August 2012) [40]
  • Female record holder (wheelchair): Susan Cook (17:36, set at Dulwich parkrun on 23 August 2014) [41]
  • Male record holder (wheelchair): Danny Sidbury (12:12, set at Dulwich parkrun on 19 March 2016) [42]
  • 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[edit]

  1. ^ "TimeOut – Bushy Park Time Trial". Retrieved 21 April 2008. 
  2. ^ 2008 Reuters' article about Parkrun
  3. ^ 2010 Reuters' article about Parkrun
  4. ^ Cieszyn parkrun is run partly in Poland and partly in the Czech Republic "Parkrun Poland". Retrieved 15 August 2015. 
  5. ^ Runners World – Heroes of Running
  6. ^ Parkrun historical chart
  7. ^ a b Christmas Wishes - parkrun news
  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 Dec 2013. Retrieved 27 Sep 2015. 
  13. ^ a b c "parkrun UK". parkrun. 
  14. ^ "parkrun Australia". parkrun. 
  15. ^ "parkrun South Africa". parkrun. 
  16. ^ "parkrun Ireland". parkrun. 
  17. ^ "parkrun Poland". parkrun. 
  18. ^ "parkrun Russia". parkrun. 
  19. ^ "parkrun New Zealand". parkrun. 
  20. ^ "parkrun Denmark". parkrun. 
  21. ^ "parkrun USA". parkrun. 
  22. ^ "parkrun France". parkrun. 
  23. ^ "parkrun Italy". parkrun. 
  24. ^ "parkrun Canada". parkrun. 
  25. ^ "parkrun Singapore". parkrun. 
  26. ^ {{cite web |url=http://www.parkrun.org.uk/jersey/ |title=Jersey parkrun - Weekly Free 5km Timed Run}
  27. ^ "Guernsey parkrun - Weekly Free 5km Timed Run". 
  28. ^ "parkrun Sweden". parkrun. 
  29. ^ a b "Junior parkrun". parkrun. 
  30. ^ "junior Parkrun". Parkrun UK. Retrieved 28 Sep 2016. 
  31. ^ "Weekly park running race banned by council on safety grounds". WalesOnline. 21 March 2013. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  32. ^ "How Parkrun became a global phenomenon". The Independent. 28 December 2015. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  33. ^ "Council votes to charge Parkrun for Little Stoke event". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  34. ^ "Minister backs free Parkrun after Stoke Gifford furore". BBC News. 21 April 2016. Retrieved 27 April 2016. 
  35. ^ "Parkrun FAQ". Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  36. ^ "Parkrun 250 Club". Parkrun. Retrieved 28 Sep 2016. 
  37. ^ "Welcome to parkrun". Parkrun. Retrieved 28 Sep 2016. 
  38. ^ http://www.parkrun.co.za/results/attendancerecords/
  39. ^ "St Albans parkrun # 81 - 27/07/2013". Parkrun UK. 
  40. ^ "Bushy parkrun # 422 - 11/08/2012". Parkrun UK. 
  41. ^ "Dulwich parkrun # 124 - 23/08/2014". Parkrun UK. 
  42. ^ "Dulwich parkrun # 209 - 19/03/2016". Parkrun UK. 

Further reading[edit]

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

External links[edit]