The parkrun family is made up of 22 countries around the world, and we’ll be taking a closer look at a number of them.
This week it’s Sweden, and Country Manager Deri Thomas tells us all about the history of parkrun Sweden.
parkrun in Sweden began in August 2016 with the first event, Haga parkrun, located in the beautiful royal park Hagaparken in Stockholm.
As the first event in the country, it had been a long time in the planning. I’d first contacted parkrun in the spring of 2015 with the suggestion of bringing parkrun to Sweden. The launch of Haga parkrun was the happy culmination of these plans!
The first event took place on Saturday 27 August 2016, with 91 parkrunners taking part. We were lucky with the weather; it was a stunning late summer morning in the park, with blue skies and warm in the air.
Everything went according to plan, nobody got lost and the results processing went smoothly!
It was great to get positive feedback about the course and to have so many local first-timers amongst the people taking part. We’ve had a wonderful three and a half years since parkrun has started here in Sweden.
We are delighted to have recently reached the landmark of having over 10,000 people registered to take part in parkrun, and our numbers have continued to grow year on year.
Swedes have embraced the concept of a free, weekly, Saturday morning walk, jog or run and we have created some wonderful parkrun communities in all of our locations.
We set our attendance record in August 2019 with 625 people taking part across our nine events on that Saturday.
This may seem small in comparison to the most established countries like the UK, Australia and South Africa, but we do face challenges with the harsh Nordic winters!
Örebro parkrun has welcomed 199 parkrunners before, Haga parkrun 197 and Malmö Ribersborg 144, but we are still waiting for our first event with over 200 participants.
We’re hopeful it won’t be long until we do as more and more events launch across the country.
In 2019, we also enjoyed our first ‘special day’ event which takes place on Sweden’s National day on 6 June. This was a huge success, with lots of locals and tourists taking part to enjoy an extra parkrun.
This year, 6 June falls on a Saturday, so there will be no extra event, but we look forward to welcoming everyone to Sweden on Sunday 6 June 2021 for a weekend parkrun double!
parkrun has expanded around the country, and we currently have nine event locations,, but we also have two brand new events that were due to launch in March, but have been prevented from doing so due to the COVID-19 situation.
Badhusparken parkrun in Östersund and Norre katts parkrun in Halmstad are both ready and waiting to start and we look forward to welcoming them both to the parkrun family soon.
We look forward to seeing parkrun continue to grow in Sweden, with events spreading to the many medium-sized towns around the country. We have a few more events that are in development which we hope that can start up once things have returned to normality.
And we are looking forward to a Saturday when we welcome 1,000 parkrunners to our events for the first time!
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