Parkrun is a global organization responsible for putting on free, mass participation weekly 5k runs. Founded in 2004 in London, UK, Parkruns now take place in over 2000 locations worldwide, including 48 towns and cities across the United States.
Parkrun is iconic for a reason, and the events are now returning in many locations after an enforced hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Here are five great reasons to lace up your sneakers on a Saturday morning and get involved.
When you create a free Parkrun member account online, you’ll receive a unique barcode. Simply bring your printed barcode along to the run and have a Parkrun volunteer scan it when you finish, and you’ll get your individual time emailed to you after the race.
This means you can track your progress every week. So whether you’re striving for a new personal best or just looking to get a little bit fitter, Parkrun can help. You might be surprised when you look back and see how far you’ve come!
Since Parkrun is a global movement, you only have to register once and then you can take part in any Parkrun, anywhere in the world. So whether you’re travelling for work or on vacation with the family, there’s no reason to miss your running fix. In fact, running in a new location can be huge fun and can help you get motivated.
You don’t even need to sign up in advance to take part in a different Parkrun when you’re travelling. Just turn up with your barcode and run.
Parkrun is about more than just fitness. A real community has built up around it. So don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with someone before or after the race. Parkrunners love to welcome new participants, and you might just make some friends.
Bonus to making friends with fellow runners: you can challenge each other, hold each other accountable, and even meet up to run together on other days of the week.
Parkrun is wonderfully inclusive. It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned athlete or have never run before. Young, old, male, female, able-bodied, disabled… all are welcome. There’s no pressure to go at a certain pace, and you can even walk part or all of the course if you want to.
Four-legged friends are invited, too. Most Parkruns allow dogs (affectionately known as “Barkrunners”) to run or walk with their humans.
Whether you run, walk, or a mix of the two, regular cardiovascular exercise has amazing health benefits. Improving your fitness can reduce your risk of a host of health complications including heart disease and diabetes.
There’s also a mental health benefit. Exercise releases endorphins, which reduce pain and produce a general feeling of wellbeing.
So what are you waiting for? Lace up your sneakers and we’ll see you Saturday!