As more and more Americans learn about parkrun, more and more people want to bring a free, weekly run/walk to their own community. We are excited to share the latest update to our development map, and to ask for your help in identifying locals who would enjoy helping out.
A thriving parkrun event is a community of people who like to come together to support each other in healthy, outdoor activity in natural settings. parkrun USA is an all-volunteer organization that makes it easy for local groups of volunteers to organize low-key, inclusive 5K run/walk events every week of the year, at no cost to participants.
We are able to do this by combining a minimalist front-end at each local event — many events can fit all their gear into a child’s wagon — with a robust back-end infrastructure for registration, insurance, and tracking that is shared across a couple of thousand events worldwide.
The key ingredients for starting a new parkrun event are a venue and a team.
The venue needs to be a place where you can put on a safe 5K run/walk in all seasons and weathers, for free. In most cases events are held in public parks or trails, but private land is also possible, as long as the landowner gives permission. For safety reasons courses should be free of road crossings or other hazards.
It’s possible for one person to start a parkrun, but it’s almost always better when a diverse team is involved. They bring encouragement and support, different skills and connections, and they are able to reach different parts of the community.
The process and the benefits are described in more detail in our brochure parkrun USA: An Introduction.
In many communities we first hear from one person who would like to start a parkrun there, but things really take off when others get involved. That’s why we’re sharing this map and reaching out for interest.
In the map, YELLOW dots are for existing events. BLUE dots are for events that we expect to launch in the near future. We expect the next US community to get a parkrun will be Madison, WI, where Howard Temin Lakeshore Path parkrun starts on August 24th. All of those parkrun teams would welcome extra hands.
The RED dots represent events at varying stages of development. These are the ones where we are most interested in hearing from you. From the hundreds of inquiries that we receive, these are serious prospects that have one or more person already leading the effort, and maybe useful leads on potential venues.
If you or somebody that you know would be interested in getting involved in your community, get in touch with us and we can connect you with one of our parkrun USA Ambassadors. These experienced volunteers 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, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
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