Our goal is for there to be a parkrun everywhere in the UK that someone would like one. We have no desire for our events to be large, rather we have a vision of many small events across many small communities, each providing a free to attend opportunity to engage with physical activity in a supportive environment.
Not considered races, parkrun events are free to attend, weekly, timed 5km runs. Results are presented in time order however there are no performance related prizes or medals and the first person across the line is termed the ‘first finisher’ not the winner. They may cover any reasonable surface such as tarmac, gravel paths, grass, forest trails, pavement and meadow but they do not run on public highways. Although some parkrun events will be certified as 5km, in most cases this is not guaranteed especially as courses can change from week to week in order to accommodate local conditions. In England and Wales all parkrun events take place on Saturday mornings at 9:00am, in Scotland and Northern Ireland they take place on Saturday mornings at 9:30am.
parkrun events look to support rather than compete with paid races and although runners of all abilities are welcome, the focus is on recreational running and increasing participation.
Already operating in over 200 UK locations we understand that parkrun is about so much more than a free, weekly, timed 5km run. It’s about friendships, families and bringing people together to help one-another achieve sustainable and healthy lifestyle changes. As we grow, the challenge of helping local governments, health services and owners of open spaces understand the benefits of parkrun is becoming easier however in places it can still be a challenge. The key therefore to starting any parkrun is to find the right person to lead that event as a local volunteer, to champion its benefits to their community and to slowly but surely build a strong volunteer team to deliver the event going forwards. We will support that person and their team through local parkrun volunteers, parkrun staff and our well established IT support system. It’s important to remember however that each of our events must be driven by a core local team of committed and passionate parkrun volunteers.
Here in the UK we operate as an independent not-for-profit organisation supported by commercial sponsors and various other supporters. In order to survive financially we look for local organisations to contribute towards the establishment of events in their area and currently seek to achieve a £3,000 (including VAT) start-up fee when establishing an event. This is always a one-off cost and we commit to supporting every event indefinitely from then on.
The time it takes to set up a parkrun from the moment we receive our first enquiry varies significantly depending on the specific challenges of that location. Typically this process takes around three to six months from start to finish, sometimes longer, but we never rush a team to get started and always wait for them to be ready, trained properly and confident in themselves that they are fully prepared.
Finally, you must be prepared for parkrun to change your life. Starting an event is the most amazing journey but please don’t take our word for it, feel free to contact any of our event teams around the UK (a direct email is on each specific web page) and ask for their thoughts, insights and knowledge around what it means to join the parkrun family.
Thanks for your time in reading this, if you’re still interested in setting up a parkrun near you then please contact us via the form below.
Anita Afonso, Head of New Event Development (parkrun UK)