News - March 11, 2021

Breaking down barriers

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This time last year, to mark International Women’s Day 2020, parkrun countries came together in a global celebration of female participation.

 

Here, we look back on that special day, the legacy it left behind, and parkrun’s ongoing commitment to breaking down barriers to participation for women and girls.

 

On the 8 March 2020, compared to a typical Saturday, we welcomed an incredible 15,000 additional women and girls to parkrun events around the world, with almost 151,000 women and girls walking, jogging or running.

 

Named after International Women’s Day, the IWDparkrun also saw the biggest number of female volunteers ever recorded at parkrun with 2,000 more female volunteers than a typical Saturday, and 400 women and girls volunteering for the very first time.

 

 

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Whilst one off celebrations like IWDparkrun provide us with a great and valuable opportunity to shine the spotlight on our commitment to inclusivity, our work certainly didn’t start and definitely doesn’t finish there.

 

We continue working hard to understand and remove many of the barriers to participation that people face, including women and girls. We’ve made changes to the delivery of our events, for example introducing First Timer Welcomes and renaming the Tail Runner role to Tail Walker, to reflect our commitment to encouraging participation by those who want to walk, and at the same time addressing the fear that some have of coming last. Our imagery and messaging has also changed to better reflect the wide range of people that take part, showcasing the incredible women and girls of all ages, abilities and backgrounds who participate in our events.

 

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Prior to the pausing of parkrun due to COVID-19, the number of females taking part in parkrun was growing year on year and the IWDparkrun provided a much needed springboard for lots of people to be more active over the past year. More than 45,000 women and girls around the world have completed almost half a million (not)parkruns with an average finish time of 37 minutes and 32 seconds. Over half (51%) of (not)parkrunners are women, and we hope that this will translate into parkrun event participation when all events resume around the world.

 

The signs are positive, with females comprising 50% the 57,350 people who ran, walked or volunteered last weekend across the parkrun territories that have resumed.

 

Although our celebration of International Women’s Day 2021 is a little different to last year, we nevertheless remain resolute and committed to our goal of encouraging women and girls to participate in parkrun, as walkers, joggers, runners and volunteers acting as incredible role models to others.

 

As more and more events reopen around the world, we look forward to welcoming everyone back and building on the success of previous years in making sure that parkrun truly is open to all.

 

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