Sport England announce major investment in parkrun
The three year collaborate will support the creation of 200 new events across England as the National Lottery money will help to build on the phenomenal growth parkrun has seen in the 14 years since its creation.
With 125,436 events having taken place in 584 locations, parkrun has more than 1.8 million registered participants and Sport England's aim is to extend that network.
Sport England's investment will focus on the key areas of increasing the number of women and girls who take part, as well as increasing participation from lower socio-economic groups – two major targets in the Sport England strategy Towards an Active Nation.
Tim Hollingsworth, Sport England's Chief Executive, said: "This important partnership with parkrun is part of our ongoing strategy to help grow new and innovative sporting ideas and broaden their reach into the demographics in society who are least likely to be active."
"The funding – which is only possible thanks to National Lottery players – will enable parkrun to reach females and people on a low income, who are less likely to be active than the general population.
"We know from our research that cost and a lack of local opportunities are real barriers in stopping people being more active, and what parkrun does brilliantly is offer free, community-based events for all abilities.
"We’re looking forward to working with parkrun to help even more people get and stay active."
parkrun began in October 2004, with a timed 5km run in Bushy Park, south west London.
Since then the free, timed, 5km runs have spread across the country and this investment will enable the modernisation of parkrun’s digital platform for registration, results and event information, in order to allow it to continue to grow indefinitely.
Nick Pearson, parkrun's Chief Executive, said: "This is an endorsement of the strides we have taken to create a model that empowers communities to implement a permanent mixed gender, multi-generational health intervention that appeals to a broad cross-section of society, particularly those for whom physical activity and volunteering is not the norm,” said the organisation’s chief executive."
"Our growth over the past 14 years has been organic and to a large degree dictated by community demand, not need.
"If we are to realise our target of increasing the number of parkrun events by one third in socially deprived areas in England over the next three years, we require a level of investment that will allow us to be proactive rather than organic in our approach.
"We are now in a position to build on our message and encourage more people to walk, jog, run and volunteer at our events by growing into new areas and engaging new audiences."
Find all the Sussex parkrun events here.