2 January 2023
There are over one thousand parkrun events held across the UK every weekend, in almost every major city and town. They’re a great chance to get outside with the family, have fun, and make friends. And they’re free!
The fact that Parkruns are open to everybody - anybody - make them the perfect place to have some family fun. There’s something exciting about running in a crowd, surrounded by marshalls, looking to beat personal bests and rank on the leaderboards. The fact that a parkrun happens at a set time, in a set place, makes it an event that feels almost like a gala or fete. It’s this that has led to parkrun’s popularity, and made it such a draw to families. You’re not out for a run on your own, you’re out to get some exercise alongside like-minded people. The minimum age to take part is 4, so there’s nothing stopping the whole family getting involved.
At many Parkruns, Junior 2K events are held as well as the regular 5K runs (though not everywhere). Junior 2K races tend to take place on Sunday mornings. These events are for children between 4 and 14 years old and are particularly family-focused. Grownups can accompany children around the course, or the adults can volunteer as the children run around on their own. The feedback to these events is overwhelmingly positive. Families love the atmosphere, and children love to take up running, make new friends, and have fun outdoors. Parkrun social media pages are full of positive comments about Junior Parkrun. Parkrun’s own research highlights a decidedly positive effect that these events have on the mental wellbeing of children and their families.
There’s more to a Parkrun than running. The actual ‘run’ of a Parkrun is only one small part of the event. Parkrun boasts an amazing community of volunteers, who are always welcoming and sociable. It’s easy to get into volunteering, and it isn’t limited to adults; children of all ages can volunteer, too. Even if you’re neither running nor volunteering you can still have fun as a spectator, cheering on the runners. The buzz in the air before, during and after a parkrun event is a lovely thing to be a part of.
The ‘Park’ in ‘Parkrun’
To attend Parkrun means taking the chance to get the family into the great outdoors. Aside from the run itself, many families take the chance to make a morning of it and enjoy their local area. Venues for Parkruns include city parks, country parks, big parks, small parks, parks along the coast, woodland routes or even open fields. As well as this, a lot of Parkruns take place near a cafe or pavilion, or volunteers themselves organise refreshments. It’s the perfect chance to get the family out, away from the distractions of screens and toys, and enjoy some fresh air and nature.