Friday, 21 September 2012

parkrun just keeps on growing!

The parkrun phenomenon just seems unstoppable to me!

It's fair to say that the people at "parkrun HQ", that mythical place you may have read about in the parkrun weekly newsletter recently, must put in a lot of work behind the scenes to ensure that the rate of growth continues. Constantly battling to keep up with what must now be a virtual tidal wave of enquiries to start up the next parkrun in the UK or beyond.

I must also say that the appetite of parkrunners to turn up and run each week is of course another huge factor. I'm sure it's the same at most parkrun events, where there is a core of parkrunners who rarely miss their Saturday morning parkrun fix.

These factors are the main reasons why parkrun continues to grow at such a rate. Roughly doubling in size year-on-year seems to be a pretty consistent trend in the world of parkrun. The number of events roughly double and the number of runners grows at a similar rate.

Take a quick look at the interesting Historical Chart for a clear graphical view of the rate of growth of parkrun.

Barely skimming the surface of these statistics I can point at two things I noticed:

1) Only 6 weeks ago the highest number of parkrunners running on any one parkrun day (the new name for Saturday) had never exceeded 20,000. Six weeks later we have exceeded 23,000 twice and one of those exceeded 24,000, just two weeks ago.

2) Just one year ago, on the same weekend there were a little over 11,100 runners at 92 events. Last weekend saw 23,399 runners at 168 events. Incredible growth!

How long then to break that magic 25,000 runners mark On a single day I wonder? A matter of weeks I would suggest.

Last weekend saw this year's edition of the Great North Run. I am led to believe that this is the biggest single running event in the UK each year, in terms of the number of participants. This year it attracted slightly less than 40,000 starters.

Based on current trends, by this time next year I would venture to suggest that parkrun will atract more runners (pretty much) each and every week of the year than the Great North run does once a year. Now that is impressive!

I admit that not all of the parkrun events are in the UK and that parkrun consists of many smaller events rather than one massive event. But the fact remains that parkrun will be responsible for getting more people running than any other single event. And parkrun will be doing it every week of the year. To me this shows what a massive impact parkrun is having on the running community in this country.

Add to this the great diversity of ages and abilities of parkrunners and this only goes to show what a positive impact parkrun is having on getting people into running and keeping them doing it.

Only time will tell us whether the trend of parkrun growth can continue, but let's hope it does so that many more people can become hooked like the rest of us.


  1. Can I please quote some of the above in the parkrun Australia newsletter this week?

    1. Hi Tim, please do. You never need ask. But thank you for being so polite. Share away. Great to see your parkrun progress in Australia. Growing nicely! All the best, ian


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