2 January 2023
Thousands of people attend parkruns across the UK each week. People not only attend as runners, but also volunteers and supporters as well. Head down to any parkrun and the chances are you’ll find many children in all three of these roles. The actual number at each location varies considerably. One of the best ways to get a feel for attendance levels is to head down to your local event on a Saturday morning as a spectator.
There are over 700 parkruns across the UK, boasting a total of over 130,000 runners between them each week. General attendance at individual parkruns varies depending on their location. Beckton parkrun, for instance, averages 50 runners per week, while Bushy Park averages just under 1000. The number of children running also varies from location to location. As a rough average, children make up around ten percent of total runners, which is quite a lot! There are three age categories for children, and you’ll find runners from all of these at most parkruns. Runners are also allowed to run with buggies, meaning that you’ll find very young children, too!
There are currently over 350,000 volunteers registered with parkrun. Again, many of these volunteers are children. Children can also take on roles that support running, such as pacers and lead bikers. Volunteering can be a really nice way for children to get a feel for what a parkrun is like before joining as a runner. Of course, there’s no need to progress to running. Some people find that they much prefer to experience their local parkrun solely as a volunteer. Attending as a supporter is fun, too. Parkruns are packed with children who have come along to spectate and support their families and friends. The positive and encouraging atmosphere you experience at a parkrun is what makes it special for everyone. Supporters are a big part of this. Without a crowd of supporters lining the track, it just wouldn’t work.
Junior parkrun hosts over 200 UK events. It’s aimed at children between the ages of four and 14 and is tailored particularly towards the young. It’s fun and engaging, with colourful certificates, fun group warm-ups, and funky milestone wristbands for children to collect. It also has safeguarding as a priority, with marshals covering the entire park so that children can run alone if they want to. These events are great for children to make new friends and develop a love for exercise alongside others. Attendance levels range a lot, though all are consistently popular. The busiest junior parkruns, such as Bushy Park Junior Parkrun, can have an average of nearly 200 finishers each week. Quieter junior parkruns tend to have an average of around 50. The average is somewhere in between. The time of year makes a difference, too, with some junior parkruns down to just 20 during the summer holiday season.