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World Athletics partners with Parkrun to boost participation

World Athletics partners with Parkrun to boost participation
June 29, 2020

World Athletics and parkrun Global Limited have announced a new partnership by which they will combine their resources to grow the sport of athletics and deliver good health and fitness outcomes for communities around the world.

Parkrun’s simple concept of offering an opportunity for anyone to participate in a free, weekly, organised 5 kilometre or 2 kilometre run at a local park has captured the imagination of communities around the world over the past 16 years.

From its roots at Bushy Park, Teddington in the United Kingdom in 2004, parkrun has expanded to 20 countries in the past 10 years, and now has more than three million participants globally.

World Athletics, which has 214 Member Federations, and parkrun will work together to encourage people around the world to get moving and keep moving by joining a local parkrun.

Parkrun will assist World Athletics to leave community health legacies in the host countries of World Athletics Series events by creating a series of permanent parkruns in the host cities and countries of world championship events, including the World Championships Oregon 2022 and Budapest 2023. Noting that parkrun’s purpose aligned perfectly with the sport’s global ambitions for the next four years, World Athletics Chief Executive, Jon Ridgeon stated “we have just approved a strategic plan that has the main objective of using the power and accessibility of athletics and our athletes to create a healthier and fitter world.

“One of the ways we are doing this is by developing strong new partnerships where our common cause is to get the world moving. We know that many more people have taken up running during the lockdowns around the world, which makes sense because our sport is the most universal and accessible of all sports, and we want to encourage those people to keep up their new fitness routines as life returns to a more normal footing after the pandemic. Doing a weekly parkrun is an excellent way to stay motivated and find a local running community once mass events are possible again.

“We’re also determined to leave tangible community legacies in all of our future host cities and countries, and there is no better way to do that than by helping to improve the health of their citizens.”

Parkrun Chief Executive Nick Pearson said both organisations were determined to get more people running for their health, fitness and enjoyment, adding “this partnership offers parkrun a fantastic platform to demonstrate the role, relevance and value of community health and wellbeing initiatives and to highlight that sport and physical activity is accessible to all,” Pearson said. “It is exciting to see this approach embraced by World Athletics, and we look forward to working with stakeholders in the host countries of World Athletics Series events to support and develop a network of parkrun events.

“We believe that finding positive ways to connect grass roots and community activity with elite sport has multiple benefits and builds stronger sporting foundations and broader engagement. Exercise and physical activity is more accessible and sustainable where sports organisations collaborate and work towards mutual goals. Encouraging the social and community participants to engage with and experience a more competitive sporting environment will help to build a stronger sport and expose pathways to more sporting opportunities.”

Parkrun New Zealand has announced last week that it will be able to resume on 4th July, with measures in place to allow contact tracing of participants.

Related Articles

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4th May 2020 - Australians’ physical activity declines during Coronavirus lockdown

7th May 2020 - Latest AusPlay data shows further increase in adult participation in sport and physical activity

11th November 2019 - Tasmanian Government funds sports clubs to improve participation 

25th March 2020 - World Athletics welcomes Tokyo Olympic Games postponement

13th December 2019 - Sport Group backs new World Athletics brand

7th October 2019 - Ignoring small crowds IAAF President Sebastian Coe describes World Athletics Championships Doha as ‘the best in history’

4th October 2019 - Athletics Australia and Little Athletics agree to unite

20th June 2019 - Athletics Australia launches plan to enhance history of engagement with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community

9th June 2019 - IAAF advances plans to introduce new World Athletics brand identity

8th January 2019 - IAAF installs air quality monitor at Sydney Olympic Park Athletics Centre

30th November 2017 - Athletics Australia claim up to three million recreational joggers are ‘participating in athletics’

21st August 2017 - Little Athletics Australia and Athletics Australia to deliver nationwide inclusion framework

17th August 2016 - Olympians look to build fitness businesses after athletics careers


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