News - 17th August 2022

Breaking stereotypes

A lady in a wheelchair is surrounded by other parkrunners, smiling and holding up a selfie frame.

parkrun is the best way to spend Saturday morning – actively, smiling and spending time with others. Everyone, regardless of their physical abilities, will find a place at parkrun.


It’s also a place that other organisations can use to support their clients. For example, the ‘Misz-Masz’ group took advantage of parkrun to integrate children with disabilities in Poland.


‘Misz-Masz’ is a sports and cultural group that has been operating under its official name since August 2016. It all started in November 2011, when the social group was formed. The purpose of ‘Misz-Masz’ was to get disabled children active, integrate them with the local community and break stereotypes of disabled people.


Two people are jogging through a park, smiling and wearing matching black tshirts.


The group, which had previously tried to mobilise children and parents through regular meetings, was looking for a place where they could spend time actively with non-disabled people and support social inclusiveness.


Marek Zasiadły, the founder of the group, recalls, “For a year and a half, we had Saturday training sessions nearby parkrun, on the premises of the cycling track. But we had a problem to motivate parents to bring their children. I figured out that parkrun might be that turning point. And I know now that it has become a perfect place where we can bring the families we look after.”


A large group of over 25 people are stood together in a park to smile for a photo. There is a lady in a wheelchair at the front, as well as two people crouching down.


The event director of parkrun Kalisz, Joanna Nowacka said, “They participate with able-bodied parkrunners and overcome their own weaknesses equally with them, each time crossing the boundaries that sometimes seem impossible to cross. This is the best example that parkrun is absolutely for everyone, that everyone can enjoy it and benefit from it.


When I watch them on the course, and later when they cross the finish line, their happy and smiling faces speak for themselves.


The moments spent together are priceless and give me the feeling that, as a parkrun event, we truly fulfil our mission. After all, parkrun is not just about walking, jogging, running or volunteering. It is much more than that. It has a lot of positive energy and a unique atmosphere.


This atmosphere is created by fantastic people who, despite many differences, create one big family parkrun. I am very glad that the Misz-Masz group has become a part of it. This is the true power of parkrun.”


Members of the MiszMasz group are walking through a park. Two people at the front are holding hands as they walk and smiling.


There are many local groups that can benefit from using parkrun as part of their schedule and a place that can serve as a means to achieve their goals and fulfil their mission. Events can actively seek local groups and support social inclusion, making our planet healthier and happier.



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