Saturday, 12 January 2013

parkrun world domination in your lifetime!

If the often talked about "doubling effect" at parkrun continues unabated, then it's true, parkrun will have caught the imagination of the entire population of the Earth within most of our lifetimes. By 2031 roughly speaking. Optimistic?!

It would be a brave man (or woman) "Why do you keep on banging on about women Stan!" [Life of Brian, Monty Python]....who would bet their reputation on such a bold prediction, and I wouldn't be so foolish, but the trends are still very impressive and the "doubling effect" does still continue to-date.

There have been a number of mentions in the last few years of parkrun doubling in size each year. That is that the number of completed runs seems to very roughly double each year. For example, almost exactly a year ago (13th Jan 2012 I believe) the 1 millionth completed run was achieved (after roughly 7 and a half years of parkrun) and last weekend (5th Jan 2013) the 2 millionth run was completed. i.e. Doubling in very slightly less than a year.

Now here is the leap....Very roughly speaking, the number of runners on the first (proper) parkrun day of January each year is also seeing double that of the previous year. Clearly there have only been 8 "first parkrun days in January", as parkrun has only been going for that many years, so this isn't really enough data to base such a calculation on, but if it were....

Starting with the global attendance for last weekend and then calculating the doubled value for the first January parkrun in subsequent years we would get:

Year   parkrunners
2013   27,683    (Actual)
2014   55,566
2015   111,132
2016   222,264
2017   444,528
2018   889,056
2019   1,778,112
2020   3,556,224
2021   7,112,448
2022   14,224,896
2023   28,449,792
2024   56,899,584
2025   113,799,168
2026   227,598,336
2027   455,196,672
2028   910,393,344
2029   1,820,786,688
2030   3,641,573,376
2031   7,283,146,752    Pretty close to the predicted population of the earth, allowing for volunteers!
Ok, so we may not need 1 billion volunteers, but some of us will be parkrun tourists, so you have to include bus and train drivers etc to make parkrun tourism possible!

This quite clearly shows that it is impossible for the doubling effect to carry on for very much longer.

To be honest it would be incredible if parkrun manages to double in size (number of runners) even for another couple of years. But it's not impossible that within a handful of years (probably within 3 or 4) that there could be 100,000 parkrunners running each week. And figures of over a million parkrunners are probably not impossible within a decade or two (but I'm fairly sure not within 6 years as the list above suggests). But if parkrun really takes off in somewhere such as the US, you never know!

So in all honesty, we won't see the whole of the world take to their local parks for a parkrun at 9am each Saturday within our lifetimes, but it will be very interesting to see just how big parkrun can grow over the coming years.

Wouldn't it be nice if on a Saturday morning, wherever you happen to be in the world, you could go and join a group of local parkrunners and feel almost as at home as you do at your own home parkrun event.

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