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This Girl Can teams up with parkrun again

The second ever This Girl Can parkrun will be on Saturday 5 March to celebrate International Women's Day.

22nd February 2022

The This Girl Can campaign has once again teamed up with parkrun to put on the second International Women’s Day parkrun.

The first event, back in 2020, saw more than 15,000 additional women and girls taking part as walkers, joggers, runners or volunteers.

We know that the gender gap in activity levels persists, though, with women less likely than men to take part in parkrun events – despite registering for the weekly 5km activity in higher numbers.

Two women, one wearing a This Girl Can t-shirt, take part in the first International Women's Day This Girl Can parkrun

This year, on Saturday March 5, This Girl Can and parkrun are joining the International Women’s Day theme and aiming to #BreakTheBias by breaking down the barriers many women and girls face when trying to take part in physical activity.

These include fear of judgement or not feeling fit enough, which are two of the key elements the This Girl Can campaign has tried to combat since launching in 2015 – a point not lost on our This Girl Can campaign lead Kate Dale.

“Getting active for the first time or after a long gap can be daunting,” she said.

“That is why we’re excited to encourage women and girls to get involved with parkrun to celebrate International Women’s Day, break the bias and tackle the stubborn gender activity gap.

“This Girl Can breaks down the stereotypes of what women getting active should look like, and champions women and girls getting active in the ways that work for them - without worrying about how good they are or what other people think.

“Getting down to your local parkrun is a great way of putting the This Girl Can ethos into practice; it’s fun, free and friendly, with women of all ages, backgrounds and abilities getting involved.

“So, if you’ve been thinking about trying it out for the first time, want to come back or bring a friend along, International Women’s Day parkrun is a great place to start getting active in a way that works for you.”

On 5 March, women and girls are encouraged to join their local parkrun for a safe, inclusive and free-from-judgement experience 5km.

Regular parkrunners are encouraged to bring a female friend, colleague or family member along, with everyone invited to join the celebration online using #IWDparkrun and #ThisGirlCan.

"We’re excited to encourage women and girls to get involved with parkrun to celebrate International Women’s Day, break the bias and tackle the stubborn gender activity gap."

Kate Dale

This Girl Can campaign lead, Sport England

The events will be supported by a targeted social media campaign to address and break down barriers faced by women and girls when accessing activity.

Using real life case studies from across the country, the campaign will help show parkrun is for everyone, no matter their age, background, fitness level or gender.

Last year, 2.4 million parkruns were completed by 440,000 women and girls across the globe and almost 100,000 women and girls carried out just under half a million volunteer roles at parkrun events.

But despite these positive numbers, the female share of parkrun finishers has dropped by around 3% compared to pre-pandemic, with our own research showing practical barriers such as childcare obligations add to concerns such as fear of judgement.

So, with more than 1,000 parkruns every weekend in the UK, their global head of health and wellbeing, Chrissie Wellington, is hoping to welcome many new faces on 5 March.

“Insight, including that generated by Sport England, reveals stark gender differences in physical activity participation and overall health and wellbeing, and that these have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said.

“We are proud that parkrun engages around 120,000 women and girls every single weekend across the world, but we also know that many still face barriers to taking part.

“These relate to fear of walking or running in public, not wanting to attend an event alone, not knowing what to expect or worries about not being fit enough.  

“We are working really hard, with partners like Sport England, to remove many of these barriers, and make parkrun as accessible as possible to as many people as possible, and IWD parkrun 2022 is an important part of these efforts.

“We really look forward to marking this important occasion and using it as a platform to celebrate female participation at parkrun and help us impact the lives of many more women and girls in the UK and around the world.”

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