January 25, 2017
Come for a run
Every Saturday at 9.30am in parks around the world, something slightly amazing takes place. At the appointed hour, come rain or shine, thousands of people of all ages, shapes and sizes come together for a 5km jog/sprint/walk/saunter (delete as appropriate). The Parkrun concept began with a small running group in Manchester. With the help of a very neatly designed website Parkrun has become a worldwide movement. More than 1000 communities in 14 different countries now organise their own Parkruns – at the last count, 26 Parkruns across Scotland. Community led sport at its best.
We’re super proud of the fact our volunteer-led, free-for-all 5km runs have been taken up by so many people across so many cultures in so many countries. Of course, it was a bit more low key at the beginning…
Our first ever event was in Bushy park, Teddington, UK, where 13 intrepid parkrunners got together on 2 October 2004. The volunteer team included Paul and Joanne Sinton-Hewitt, Duncan Gaskell, Simon Hedger and Robin Drummond.
It took nearly two years before parkrun spread beyond Bushy. Wimbledon was the chosen venue and we had to prove to ourselves that we could manage more than a single event at a time. This was the start of the ‘cookie cutter’ approach to events that would allow parkrun to expand.
To begin with we collated all results on paper and the finish tokens were washers from the local hardware store! But eventually we ramped up the technology, and so the parkrun registration and barcode result system was born.
Now many thousands of runners are processed, websites updated and emails sent each week. The parkrun community is growing all the time – but it’s all still based on the simple, basic principles formed from the start: weekly, free, 5km, for everyone, forever.