News - 13th March 2019
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parkrun USA: An Introduction

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As parkrun USA rapidly grows, more and more people want to know what’s special about parkrun, what impact it is making, and what it takes to bring a free, weekly parkrun event to a new community.

 

Our new guide parkrun USA: An Introduction is an illustrated overview of our values, some of our stories, and how we work with local communities.

 

Take a look at the guide: parkrun USA: An Introduction

 

parkrun isn’t like the typical 5k events found throughout the United States. Every parkrun is a low-key event held in the same venue each Saturday, year round. parkrun events focus on community and social support rather than performance, prizes, or swag. And of course parkrun is always free.

 

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Fletcher’s Cove parkrun

 

It is possible for local volunteer teams to deliver 50+ events per year because of the combination of a simple front end at each event, i.e., minimal equipment, park and trail courses, volunteer led, word-of-mouth advertising, paired with a robust back end infrastructure that is shared across all 1700 events worldwide, including registration, results, and communication management.

 

parkrun welcomes walkers, families with kids and strollers, and dogs (on a short leash). And we guarantee that you will not finish last. That is, unless you choose to volunteer as the tailwalker.

 

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Crissy Field parkrun

 

At parkrun USA we are excited to be roughly doubling in size every year, thanks to the growth of individual events and the many new teams that we are working with throughout the country. By Spring 2019 there will be 33 free parkrun events across the US every week, in locations ranging from big cities to small towns.

 

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Larger version of this map

 

But we are even more excited to learn about the stories of how parkrun is making a difference to the lives of individual runners, walkers, and volunteers.

 

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Clermont Waterfront parkrun

 

It typically takes a few months to get a new parkrun event off the ground. All events are led by teams of local volunteers. It takes some effort, but as our event directors share it can be among the most rewarding things that they have done.

 

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Mountain Goat Trail parkrun

 

To start a new parkrun event you need four things.

 

(i) A team, consisting of event directors who coordinate the event overall, and a crew of core volunteers who can take the lead on an individual Saturday.

 

(ii) Venues, consisting of a 5k route that avoids public roads, and ideally a good spot for a post-parkrun coffee meetup.

 

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Renton parkrun

 

(iii) An event needs a community of participants and volunteers, and a local community that welcomes the event. parkrun events appeal to experienced runners, but also to many people who would not normally take part in organized running events.

 

(iv) And finally each new parkrun needs to raise one-time startup funding of $5,000 to get the event off the ground.

 

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Charleston, WV parkrun

 

If you or somebody that you know would be interested in bringing a parkrun event to your community, get in touch with us and we can connect you with one of our parkrun USA Ambassadors. These are experienced volunteers who support local teams as they develop their event and their new parkrun community. Send us an inquiry via the Start Your Own Event link on the parkrun website, or drop us a line via our social media accounts.

 

If you know of a potential community partner, such as a parks department, a walking or running club, or a community organization, feel free to share the parkrun USA Introduction with them to help them understand how parkrun could help with their goals.

 

Or if you just want to share with friends and family, be our guest!

 

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Roosevelt Island parkrun

 

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