Our story

We’re super proud of the fact our volunteer-led, free-for-all 5k and 2k events 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 hundreds of thousands of parkrunners are processed, websites updated and millions of 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, 5k, for everyone, forever.

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2004

Bushy Park, 13 runners, 3 volunteers, a stopwatch, some washers from the local hardware store and a piece of paper. Then it was off to the cafe for a natter.

2005

More of the same but with growing numbers – up to 155 at our peak. Plus plenty of sessions with the core team working out what the heck we’d just started and where it should go.

2006

Still a single event but now with up to 378 runners turning up each week – causing a bit of concern to the park authorities! Nonetheless, Jim Desmond applies pressure to start the second event. Number of runs recorded this year: 9,660.

2007

Boom! parkrun goes from a single event to seven in a year. Our ability to run simultaneous events is proved at Wimbledon and quickly evolves to Richmond, Banstead, Leeds and Brighton. Then our first international event is created in Zimbabwe. Number of runs recorded this year: 24,972.

2008

Five more new events along with our first Scottish event in Glasgow and our first Welsh event in Cardiff. 54,428 runners enjoy the experience this year.

2009

We add our first event in Denmark thanks to Jonathan Sydenham, and another 15 parkrun events in total. 112,260 runs recorded this year.

2010

Welcome to Northern Ireland and Matt Shields! The number of runs increases to 242,075 as we add 30 new events.

2011

A big year with 55 new events: Tim Oberg delivers the first event in Australia, Bruce Fordyce does the same in South Africa and Jakub Fedorowicz takes parkrun to Poland. There’s also a special event in the UK army base at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan.

2012

Tom Williams joins parkrun UK as Country Manager. Rick Brauer introduces parkrun to the USA. We achieve 90 new events and a whopping 992,308 runs.

2013

Matt Shields heads up our expansion into the Republic of Ireland while Tom Williams becomes MD for parkrun UK. In the UK we introduce the parkrun Junior series – a weekly 2km event for children – with the help of Chrissie Wellington MBE, four time Ironman Triathlon World Champion.

2014

Welcome to parkrun Russia and their Country Manager Semen Serikov. Weekly runner attendance exceeds 60,000 for the first time.

parkrun Global

parkrun Global Limited is a registered charity (charity number: 1175062) and is the organisation that governs and protects parkrun events and territories around the world. parkrun Global is governed by a Board of Trustees. The Trustees are responsible for guiding the strategic direction and protecting the parkrun’s mission of helping people live healthier happier lives. The global Trustees are:

  • Christine Gibbons
  • Katee Hui
  • Gavin Megaw
  • Paul Sinton-Hewitt
  • Jeremy Townsend