05 August 2017
Parkruns have become a global phenomenon. Here are some interesting facts about this popular weekly 5km timed event.
The first parkrun was run in October 2004 in London’s Bushy Park. Paul Sinton-Hewitt, who could not even run it, as he was a volunteer timekeeper that morning, organized it. A total of 13 runners pitched.
Originally called the Bushy Park Time Trial, it grew into a small collection of events called the UK Time Trials, which were renamed parkrun in 2008. The first event outside of the United Kingdom was launched in Denmark in 2009.
In which countries can I find a parkrun?
Events now take place every week in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Singapore, the Czech Republic, the United States, Italy and France.
Number of venues
Parkruns are held at just under 170 000 different venues and 300 000 volunteers worldwide are involved.
Two million and counting
By December 24th 2015, there were over 2 million registered parkrunners globally, together having done over 12.5 million runs, with one million instances of volunteering. In December 2016, parkrun ‘athlete’ number 3,000,001 had been issued, representing over 2 million participants with runners using over 1 000 parks worldwide.
South African Start
Running legend Bruce Fordyce and his wife Gill brought the parkrun concept to South Africa, with the first local parkrun held in November 2011 in Delta Park, Johannesburg. There were 22 parkrunners at the start. Parkrunning is growing much faster in South Africa compared to other countries.
Go Gill Fordyce!
After supporting her legendary husband for many years in his running endeavors, Gill Fordyce has carved out her own niche in running, having completed 234 parkruns, amongst the highest number of parkruns completed by any woman in South Africa. She is also the COO of parkrun South Africa.
The heart of parkrunning
Each parkrun event is run entirely by volunteers. Parkrun HQ provides the necessary equipment and there are several different volunteer roles at each parkrun event. It is recommended that runners volunteer three times a year to help their local parkrun function sustainably.
Parkrun makes extensive use of electronic timing and barcode technology to generate the results of each event. When registering with parkrun, runners print out a personal barcode, which encodes their unique athlete number. As they cross the finish line, their time is recorded electronically by a volunteer using a stopwatch that can export data to a computer. The runner is also handed a barcoded tag, with their finish position. A second volunteer scans the runner's personal barcode and the barcode on their finish tag. The finish times and athlete numbers (with their finish position) are uploaded to a server which automatically generates the results tables and statistics on the parkrun web site.
There are five different clubs to which a runner registered with parkrun can belong:
· The '10 club' for runners aged 17 or below who have completed 10 or more runs.
· The '50 club', '100 club', '250 club' and '500 club' for anyone who has completed that number of runs.
· Anyone in the world entering a 'club' is given a T-shirt with a number on the back to represent the club they are in. So far, sponsors have funded the cost of the T-shirts and the T-shirts are free of charge to runners.
The T-shirts are colour coded:
· 10 (White)
· 50 (Red)
· 100 (Black)
· 250 (Green, although an older variant was gold & black)
· 500 (Blue)
· There is also a shirt (purple) for those that have been a volunteer 25 times or more.
As of 18 May 2017 there were 59 438 in the junior ’10 club’ and in the adult clubs:
· 63 216 in the ’50 club’
· 28 432 in the ‘100 club’
· 1 327 in the ‘250 club’
· 8 in the ‘500 club’
As of 4 April 2017, combined worldwide statistics for all events:
· 1 095 parks
· 147 534 events
· 2 157 009 runners
· Female record holder (running): Hannah Walker (15:55, set at St Albans parkrun on 27 July 2013), although Elaine Sherwin set a canicross-assisted record of 15:13 with her dog Uma at Kingsbury parkrun on 11 February 2017).
· Male record holder (running): Andrew Baddeley (13:48, set at Bushy parkrun on 11 August 2012).
· Female record holder (wheelchair): Lizzie Williams (assisted) (15:27, set at Dulwich parkrun).
· Male record holder (wheelchair): Danny Sidbury (12:12, set at Dulwich parkrun on 19 March 2016).
· Age-graded record holder: Fauja Singh (179.04%, set when finishing Valentines parkrun in 38:34 on 31 March 2012, the day before his 101st birthday).
South African stats
· Number of events: 12 518
· Number of locations: 109
· Number of registered parkrunners: Over 600 000 (of which approximately 400 000 are women)
· Average runs per event: 287.8
· Number of runners: 404 478
· Number of Clubs: 1 579
· Average number of runs per runner: 8.9
· Average time to complete the distance: 40:16
· Number of runs: 3 602 309
· Total Distance: 18 011 545km
South African Records
· Female record holder: Jenna Challenor: 16:35 (03/08/13)
· Male record holder: Adam Lipschitz: 14:17 (18/07/15)
· Age graded record holder: Margie Saunders: 19:42 (98.48%) (08/11/14)
(Information courtesy of Wikipedia and www.parkrun.co.za)
Share this article on facebook?
Tweet about this article?