parkrun has grown from one event in a park to a global movement of millions of people walking, jogging, running and volunteering across 21 countries.
But parkrun is so much more than a walk, jog or run in a park!
If you or someone you know is yet to come along for the first time, here are 10 reasons why you really should join us…
1. Hundreds of events to choose from
There are currently close to 700 parkuns in local communities all over the UK, with new events starting every week, meaning your nearest parkrun could be a lot closer than you think!
parkruns are also a brilliant way to explore new places, from parks to promenades, cities and forests, as well as parts of your local area you might not have discovered before.
Enter your postcode into our event finder and start planning. You can view the map here.
2. Feel good
Walking, jogging or running 5k in the open air, or volunteering in the company of friends can really help to improve your health and wellbeing.
A survey of more than 60,000 parkrunners this year found that 85% improved their physical health and 91% of all respondents reported a sense of personal achievement after taking part.
3. It’s completely free
There are no subscription fees or membership costs and you don’t have to commit to attending in advance. You can come along every week and never pay a penny – parkrun will always be here for you.
You don’t have to buy running kit or sportswear to take part at parkrun. Wear whatever you feel most comfortable in, whether that’s super-duper lycra, a panda onesie, or a pair of jeans and comfy shoes.
Just print your parkrun barcode and bring it along with you. That’s all you need. You can download and print your barcode here.
4. Be part of a community
Whilst some parkrunners try to beat their best time, the social side is just as important as the walking, jogging and running at parkrun. Most parkruns have a first-timers welcome briefing and a post-parkrun cafe or meeting point where you can meet and chat with friends, old and new.
Our independent research also showed that 69% of parkrunners improved their mental health as a result of participating at parkrun, with 79% saying parkrun made them happier.
5. Children are welcome
There’s no better way to spend time together as a family than being active in the outdoors.
Children can take part from the age of four and you can walk, jog or run with a buggy. You can also volunteer too!
On top of that, there are also close to 300 two kilometre junior parkrun events across the UK every Sunday morning for four to 14-year-olds.
6. Track your progress
After every parkrun you will receive a text message or email confirming your finish time and position, meaning you can track your journey as you progress. parkrun is also great if you are training for other events or sports.
And if that’s still not enough, there are a number of milestones along the way, so once you have completed 10 (for under 18s), 50, 100, 250 or 500 parkruns, or volunteered 25 times, you will join a milestone club and receive a free t-shirt.
7. Learn new skills
More than 20,000 people volunteer at parkrun every week. There are lots of different roles, such as Timekeeper, Marshal or Barcode Scanner, as well as the opportunity to pace others, and support the final finishers as Tail Walker.
You can develop skills like problem-solving, public speaking, processing results, sorting tokens, all whilst socialising with new people, making friends and gaining confidence.
Sign up to become a hi-vis hero and get the feel-good factor from helping to organise and manage an event in your community.
8. Bring a friend
If you are worried about coming on your own… don’t be! The support offered at parkrun means we all walk, jog, run or volunteer together.
But, you can always bring a friend along, chat and share the post-parkrun glow. You could arrange to have a coffee or breakfast together afterwards, or meet up with someone you haven’t seen in a while.
9. Have your whole weekend ahead of you
Not everyone is a morning person, but the great thing about parkrun is you don’t have to give up an evening or commit to a whole day.
parkruns take place on Saturday mornings, starting at 9:00am in England and Wales, and 9:30am in Scotland and Northern Ireland, meaning once you have finished, you still have the rest of the weekend ahead of you for adventures (or chores!).
10. Nobody finishes last
parkrun is not a race, there is no time limit, and everyone is welcome to take part. You don’t have to be a runner, or run the course. You can walk every step.
All parkruns in the UK have Tail Walkers who are always the final finishers. The Tail Walker walks the course every week, offering support, encouragement, and a good old chat.
And if you’re still unsure whether parkrun is for you, you can always head down to your local event one week and spectate to see what is really going on every Saturday morning.
We really hope we’ve tempted you to come along and experience parkrun for yourself.
You might like to watch our short video or read the personal stories of parkrunners on our blog to get a feel for what parkrun is all about. You can also visit your local event website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
We can’t wait to see you soon! #loveparkrun
Wilf Laidler first gave parkrun a try aged 76 yrs old. He has not stopped since. Here Wilf tells us why he took up parkrunning and what he’s achieving now. I had a triple heart bypass in November 2011 and went through the normal rehabilitation and all got back to normal and I…
Emily Ritson’s brother Ben has autism. She thought that introducing him to parkrun could be a life changing experience for him. Here, Emily tells us all about Ben and his parkrun adventures so far. My brother Aaron and I took up running to make sure we got our exercise as we have a…