How did ParkRun get thousands of us off the sofa and into our sneaks?

Across the world, a movement of community running is erupting. From Singapore to the United States to our local parks, a global collective come together to run in their local green spaces. ParkRun has done what many governments have struggled to achieve: an inclusive, free and fun way to help communities create a movement across divides. This week ParkRunners are our #HeroesOfChange.

Meet the Parkrunners

The concept of parkrun is simple: turn up to your local park and run 5km. Every parkrunner has a unique barcode and their running times are uploaded online. And, best of all, it’s free! It’s a chance to get some exercise as well as meet other members of your community. More than 466,000 people globally participated in ParkRun in April 2016, and the movement is swelling to a million runners a week. 

What’s the secret to their success?

Parkrun’s success as a movement lies in its simplicity. It’s really easy to take part. Just register online, and head off to your local park. Parkrun HQ has developed technology so that parkrunners can become part of the movement from across the world. By giving each runner a unique barcode, every person can track their running time online. They’ve come a long way from their early stages, when they were recording each person’s time on paper with tokens borrowed from the local laundrette.

ParkRun have combined technology with simplicity to create a self-sustaining movement. Each Parkrun is run by a strong team of volunteers who are responsible for facilitating each run. It’s because of this team of dedicated volunteers that parkruns exist throughout the globe. ParkRun HQ don’t micromanage their movement members. They have enabled leadership to spread up when it needs to. People are inspired by the movement, and they take it upon themselves to host the next parkrun. It’s a movement that is truly held by its members.

What will they do next?

For ParkRunners, the world is their oyster. They could team up with changemakers in other sports to create peer networks, working collaboratively together to create bigger events and a wider movement. There’s no end to what parkrunners could achieve as a movement, and we look forward to watching their next move.