News - 2nd September 2022

Back to school: back to junior parkrun!

A young girl is stood in a park, holding up her finish token and giving a thumbs up with a big smile.

Summer holidays have come to an end, and schools are starting back across the UK and Ireland.


Are you a parent or a school teacher looking for a brilliant way for your children to be active and to pick up life skills in a safe environment? Something that’s open to everyone and stacks of fun?  


If so, junior parkrun could be for you!


There are currently over 400 in the UK and in the Republic of Ireland, and  junior parkrun is open to all children aged 4 to 14.


Events take place on Sunday mornings leaving plenty of time to enjoy the rest of your day after an early injection of junior parkrun fun. And best of all, parkrun is totally free!


A father is stood in a park, with his son and daughter stood in front of him. They are all smiling.


So far, over 450,000 different juniors have walked, ran or volunteered at junior events more than 4.3 million times.


Children can walk or run on their own, or be accompanied round the course  by a parent or guardian.


For every 100 junior parkrunners that take part, at least 40 adults will have also walked, jogged or ran alongside them.


A mum wearing a purple 25 volunteer milestone tee is jogging alongside her daughter who is wearing a white 10 milestone tee.


Children can also volunteer in a wide range of roles, including leading the wonderful junior parkrun warm-up. Speak to the event team to get the whole family involved!


Two young girls are stood in front of a large crowd of children, with one of their legs up, leading the warm up.


Here’s what junior volunteer Emmeline had to say:


I love the community and that it’s free every week. I also like that you can choose whether you go every week, and it’s really fun. I’ve got to know lots of the regular volunteers. My favourite volunteering role is barcode scanning as I get to see all the finishers afterwards!”


Two women are crouched down in a park next to each other, with three young girls sat next to them. They are all smiling and waving at the camera.


junior parkrunner Erin, aged eight said:


“I enjoy running and volunteering. It’s nice to cheer people on, making them smile and carry on. I love barcode scanning the best. I would describe parkrun as fun, friendly and it makes me happy.”


We love to reward participation and our junior parkrunners can work towards various ‘milestone’ awards with our half-marathon club, marathon club, ultra-marathon club, plus the mighty 100 and 250 clubs, in addition to milestone awards and t-shirts for those who volunteer with us.


juniors who reach certain milestones in the junior series get to proudly display an icon next to their name on our website, are awarded a participation wristband and can also print off a celebratory certificate too. All great for show-and-tell at school!


Two young girls are smiling, showing their yellow wristbands on their wrists.


You don’t even need to bring a junior participant along to be a volunteer at our 2k events – hundreds of people come along and get their weekly sprinkle of parkrun magic by volunteering at junior events.


Robert Cooley is a teacher and regular volunteer at junior parkrun. He tells us how he got into volunteering at junior parkrun:


“Unfortunately, four decades or more ago when I was at school, the wider opportunities for participation outside of school were limited.  I simply assumed that you had to be the best to attend any sports clubs.


Fast forward a couple of decades and I found myself as a primary school teacher as a consequence of a career change. I threw myself completely into offering the pupils I taught as many opportunities in as many different sports as I could. If I leave any legacy when my teaching career is over, I hope that no child I taught can say that they didn’t get the chance to take part.


One day, on a whim, I said I’d join my sister and her colleague at the Manchester 10k. Feeling pretty happy with how it had gone, I signed up for another couple of 10ks, joined an encouraging recreational running group and then discovered this thing called parkrun. I’ve now been doing parkruns for nearly nine years. I regularly do the 5k on a Saturday and then volunteer at juniors on a Sunday.


I like volunteering because it brings together all the things that are important to me – children participating in physical activity regardless of ability, and a community in which everyone’s contribution is valued. I enjoy the simple pleasure of being in my local park through all the seasons and all weathers.


It also closes the loop. The child who wanted to participate whenever he could can now help another generation do just that. I like that feeling.”


A young girl and a young boy are stood close to each other in a park, both wearing yellow hi vis. They are holding a large red hand in front of them.


To find a junior parkrun event near you, you can use our event finder.


So what are you waiting for? Register here and simply turn up at your local event. We can’t wait to welcome you!



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John is stood with another man in a park. They are both smiling.

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