Recently, at Haga parkrun, I was asked why I was involved in parkrun?
Well, it’s a question that often gets asked, when you consider that it takes up a fair amount of my free time! But I’m happy to be doing something positive with my time and it’s a pleasure to be involved in an organisation that works ethically and provides great support for the teams of volunteers that help to put on parkrun every week.
parkrun has a mission statement of ‘making the world happier and healthier place’, and everything is done with this in mind. Sure, the organisation needs money to operate – with close to 4 million registered parkrunners, and over 1200 websites to look after, there’s a lot of IT requirements to consider – but the main drive of the organisation is not to make money – there’s nothing to sell, not even race entry fees. Yes, parkrun has commercial sponsors, and they have products and services to sell, but even this is done with a ‘light touch’. In an age where one is constantly bombarded with adverts and there’s a cost for everything, it’s refreshing to be involved in something that costs nothing for people to be involved with and it’s all about the outcome, not the bottom line.
So the drive and the energy that comes from each of the parkrun teams is because they want to be involved, and want people in their community to come and join them! If lots of people come and run then great, but sometimes a small but tightly-knit parkrun in a smaller community works just fine.
On a wider note, of course, I’m delighted to be involved in something I love, sharing the joy of running. parkrun is all about making this available for EVERYONE, in a non-pretentious, non-intimidating, friendly setting, where the focus is on enjoyment, bringing people together, enjoying outdoor space, being the best you can be yourself. It’s not about being trendy or wearing the right clothes and it doesn’t just focus on the winners or seeing how much money can be squeezed out of the people taking part.
So I am very happy playing a small role in helping to spread this positive organisation around my adopted home in Sweden & Scandinavia; an organisation where the enthusiasm is genuine and the goal is one that contributes positively to the world!
Country Manager, parkrun Sverige
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