“From little acorns mighty oaks grow.” What better way to describe the phenomenal success of parkrun, which saw its millionth finisher last weekend? From its early beginnings in 2004 it has defied all expectations to become a sporting inspiration.
This global movement, which introduced free, timed running events for the public on Saturday mornings, has grown beyond all expectations but more importantly, has made a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of the nation.
People of all ages, backgrounds and abilities take part in these friendly, welcoming events, organised by volunteers, where the aim is to complete 5k in a supportive environment. It is open to adults and children – there is a junior parkrun for youngsters and participants can walk, run, push a buggy, jog with their dog or use whatever form of movement necessary to finish.
parkrun encourages anyone with an illness, disability or mobility issue to join in and become part of a national community with an inclusive attitude and a desire to help people improve their fitness levels whilst having fun at the same time.
As a way of highlighting this achievement, runners across the country are invited to share their stories about parkrun and what it means to them. Using the hashtag #1MillionStories, their stories are publicised on social media as proof of the positive impact of this remarkable tour de force.
There was an additional bonus in the shape of official recognition for their services at the Women’s Sport Trust Awards 2016. Nominated for the Inspiring Initiative - National category, they beat off strong opposition to win this #BeAGameChanger Award.
For more information, visit the parkrun
Photo courtesy of parkrun.