New Partnership with World Athletics

By Russ Jefferys, Chief Executive Officer
— Monday 29 June 2020

We’re really excited to announce a new partnership between parkrun and World Athletics. We’ll be combining our resources to inspire physical activity, and help create healthier and happier communities around the world.

Our simple concept of offering an opportunity for anyone to participate in a free, weekly, timed 5k or 2k event, in a local area of open space, has captured the imagination of communities across the globe.

The very first parkrun took place in Bushy park in 2004. From then, we’ve expanded to 22 countries, with more than seven million registered parkrunners, and around 350,000 people taking part each week.

We’ll be working with World Athletics, which has 214 Member Federations, to encourage people around the world to get moving and keep moving by joining a local parkrun.

parkrun will assist World Athletics to leave community health legacies in the host countries of World Athletics Series events by creating a number of permanent parkruns in the host cities, and countries of world championship events, including the World Championships Oregon 2022 and Budapest 2023. World Athletics will facilitate government/city support for the creation of the parkrun events.

World Athletics CEO Jon Ridgeon said parkrun’s purpose aligned perfectly with the sport’s global ambitions for the next four years.

“We have just approved a strategic plan that has the main objective of using the power and accessibility of athletics and our athletes to create a healthier and fitter world,” Ridgeon said.

“One of the ways we are doing this is by developing strong new partnerships where our common cause is to get the world moving. We know that many more people have taken up running during the lockdowns around the world, which makes sense because our sport is the most universal and accessible of all sports, and we want to encourage those people to keep up their new fitness routines as life returns to a more normal footing after the pandemic. Doing a weekly parkrun is an excellent way to stay motivated and find a local running community once mass events are possible again.

“We’re also determined to leave tangible community legacies in all of our future host cities and countries, and there is no better way to do that than by helping to improve the health of their citizens.”

parkrun CEO Nick Pearson said both organisations were determined to get more people parkrunning for their health, fitness and enjoyment.

“This partnership offers parkrun a fantastic platform to demonstrate the role, relevance and value of community health and wellbeing initiatives and to highlight that sport and physical activity is accessible to all,” Pearson said. “It is exciting to see this approach embraced by World Athletics, and we look forward to working with stakeholders in the host countries of World Athletics Series events to support and develop a network of parkrun events.

“We believe that finding positive ways to connect grass roots and community activity with elite sport has multiple benefits and builds stronger sporting foundations and broader engagement. Exercise and physical activity is more accessible and sustainable where sports organisations collaborate and work towards mutual goals. Encouraging the social and community participants to engage with and experience a more competitive sporting environment will help to build a stronger sport and expose pathways to more sporting opportunities.”

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