News - 4th September 2018
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Summer Summary

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With Labor Day behind us, we can look back on a busy summer for parkrun USA. We had more and more people getting involved, more friendships made, more communities getting healthy together, and more going on behind the scenes to bring parkrun to new US communities.

 

For good measure, we included some of our favorite pictures from our summer parkrunning.

 

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Livonia parkrun in Michigan has a summer course that uses trails that are unsuitable in the winter

 

Participation

From Memorial Day weekend (May 26) to Labor Day weekend (Sept 1) US parkrunners did the following. Remember that the events are organized by the same people who take part.

 

Events: 334

Participants: 7,572 people completed 17,216 parkruns

Volunteers: 999 people volunteered on 2,815 occasions

Registrations: 5,169 Americans got a parkrun barcode

 

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Clermont Waterfront parkrun in Florida saw record crowds during its summer tourist surge

 

Throughout the spring we wondered when we might reach 1,000 finishers on a single Saturday. Well, it happened for the first time on Memorial Day weekend. And then it happened again every single weekend since then, peaking at 1,360 finishers on August 4th. Since parkrun USA launched in 2012 the 15 busiest weekends have been the last 15 weekends.

 

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5-year old growth spurt. Durham, NC parkrun saw their largest attendances this summer. For their 5th birthday celebration in June they made a sign thanking everybody who had ever volunteered at the event.

 

Stories

Here are our most popular stories of the summer, based on online engagement. In no particular order.

 

 

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American Rebecca Adams and Aussie Ben Oxwell got hitched this summer at Renton parkrun. Yes, the pre-run briefing was the actual wedding ceremony.

Initiatives

We saw some cool new partnerships with events around the country.

 

Yoga in the park is a great complement to parkrun, especially on warm summer days. At College Park parkrun in Maryland the local parks department started a free yoga program, timed to coincide with the end of parkrun every week. It was so popular that it is continuing into the fall season.

 

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At College Park parkrun in Maryland the local parks department offered free Yoga in the Park every week, timed to start right after parkrun. It was so popular they are continuing the program into the fall.

 

Renton parkrun in Washington State they teamed up with the local parks department to be part of a local running event series, the South King County Challenge. In Washington DC, Fletcher’s Cove parkrun teamed up in May with the mayor’s office to host their free Mother’s Day 5k at parkrun.

 

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The Washington DC Mayor’s office teamed up with Fletcher’s Cove parkrun for their special Mothers’ Day 5k, bringing many new walkers to parkrun

 

Clermont Waterfront parkrun in Florida hosted the finale of the Drive for Men’s Health, a touring campaign by a group of urologists that is raising awareness of men’s health issues.

 

Roosevelt Island parkrun in Washington DC partnered with the National Parks Service on special events to clean up the island. And NPS rangers offered special walking tours on the parkrun route to coincide with RI parkrun’s 2nd birthday, which just happened to also be NPS’s 102nd birthday.

 

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Roosevelt Island parkrun has developed a strong partnership with the local National Parks Service rangers

 

More and more events are hosting events-within-events for local school groups or fitness groups. It’s easy: parkrun puts on a free, friendly 5k with results, timing, and a pretty course. You just need to bring the runners and walkers.

 

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At Leakin Park parkrun in Baltimore they regularly team up with the crew from the Catonsville Moms Run This Town chapter

 

Launches

Des Moines Creek parkrun in Washington State launched June 9th. DMC parkrun is the second Seattle area parkrun, in a stunning setting by the Puget Sound, and following a peaceful forest trail that is all downhill in the second half. In the summer months the post-parkrun meetup is at the buzzing harborside farmers’ market that is right next to the parkrun finish.

 

Delaware and Raritan Canal parkrun launched August 18th in central New Jersey. It starts in pretty Colonial Park in Somerset, NJ, and follows a shaded trail along a popular local canal towpath. The start of D&RC parkrun put parkrun within reach of millions more Americans. Now over 25 million Americans live within 20 miles of a parkrun.

 

With just two new events this summer, following a busy spring season, you might think that things were slowing down. But that is far from accurate.

 

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The second half of Des Moines Creek parkrun is downhill all the way to the Puget Sound

 

Behind the Scenes

As word spreads about parkrun in the US, we have been busy behind the scenes getting ready to help new communities bring parkrun to their town, and supporting existing communities to break down barriers to participation in free, social physical activity.

 

We have built a network of parkrun “ambassadors”, experienced volunteers who are helping to support events, spread the word through engaging stories, develop new partnerships, and get ready for rapid growth in the next couple of years.

 

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With new thriving events like Charleston, WV parkrun, we’re reaching well beyond large urban centers

 

Currently our ambassadors are working with local teams in at least 12 states to develop new events: AZ, CA, CT, FL, MD, MI, NC, OH, OR, PA, TX, WA. This is in addition to the states where we already have events: CO, DC, IL, KY, MA, MN, MO, NJ, TN, VA, WV. It won’t be too much longer before most US states have a parkrun, and soon it will be more commonplace for a state or a metro area to have multiple parkruns.

 

We’re coy about discussing specific venues, so as to avoid putting undue pressure on the local teams, but we’d love to hear from you if you’re interested in being involved in your town or region.

 

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With two parkrun events now in Colorado, it’s clear that altitude is no barrier to parkrunning

 

How You Can Help

There are super simple ways that you can help us to build more healthy communities through parkrun.

 

  1. Be part of the warm vibe at your local parkrun. Your smiles and high fives help others feel like they fit in. Look out for newcomers who don’t yet know others at your parkrun. Talk to them. Everybody has an interesting story.
  2. Sign up to volunteer at your local parkrun. It’s fun and rewarding.
  3. Take a walk. Walkers really notice when the gazelles take a break and join them. It really helps to show that parkrun is about getting outside together, for everyone.

 

We’re excited for what the fall season will bring.

 

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An unusually wet summer created challenges for some of our events. But at Kensington parkrun in Maryland it was a source of additional joy.

 

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The summer season brings hundreds of international parkrun tourists to events like Crissy Field parkrun in San Francisco, which also saw some of its largest ever fields this summer

 

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At College Park parkrun in Maryland 96% of regular parkrunners have recommended parkrun to friends and family. So it’s no wonder that more and more people are joining in.

 

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Once the early summer floods subsided, the harbor at Heritage Harbor parkrun in Illinois was a perfect place to run on a Saturday morning. 

 

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Mountain Goat Trail parkrun in tiny Sewanee, TN (pop. 2,000) was one of the revelations of this summer. They set 8 attendance records since their mid-May launch, with a record of 29, and they charmed everybody who visited. They have dubbed themselves “The small parkrun with a big heart”.

 

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Nelson, Bruce and George

On September 29th Fletcher’s Cove parkrun will co-host a special parkrun with the South African Embassy and the Comrades Marathon to celebrate the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth. The parkrun route follows the canal surveyed by George Washington.   Guest of honor at this event is Bruce Fordyce, legendary ultra-marathoner and 9-time winner of the…

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A different milestone

No one has run 1000 parkruns yet. A few people are working hard toward this goal, but it still isn’t technically possible, as the oldest parkrun, at Bushy Park, London, has only taken place 752 times. Yet here in the US, a parkrunner recently achieved a different, but no less inspiring, 1000th run: Tim Ramsey,…