A £3 million investment in parkrun will see the free 5km runs focus on helping more women and people from lower socio-economic groups to get active.
We'll collaborate with parkrun for three years to support the creation of 200 new events across England.
The National Lottery money will help to build on the phenomenal growth parkrun has seen in the 14 years since its creation.
With events taking place in 584 locations around the UK each weekend, parkrun has seen more than 1.8 million people take part to date and our aim is to extend that network.
average number of participants per parkrun
Our 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 our strategy Towards an Active Nation.
“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,” said our chief executive, Tim Hollingsworth.
“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.
average number of parkruns participated in, per runner
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.
“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, Nick Pearson.
“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.”