This is the first book to take an in-depth look at parkrun - the free, weekly, timed 5km run on a Saturday morning - and to examine why its participants love it so much and why it has been such an astonishing success.
Author David Hindley – a self-described ‘middle of the pack’ parkrunner – draws on new research, including interviews with other runners, volunteers and organisers, to shine a light on the unique combination of ingredients in parkrun’s magic formula. Tracing the development of parkrun from its first event in the UK in 2004 to the global network of today, he takes a close look at themes like inclusion, volunteering, community, green space, health and well-being, and unpacks the mantra of ‘it’s a run not a race’ that has come to define the spirit of parkrun for so many of its participants. Part sporting event, part social movement, and part public health intervention, parkrun perhaps offers a model for sustainable public participation in other areas of social life.
This book is compulsory behind-the-scenes reading for all parkrunners and parkrun volunteers, and anybody working in sport development, events, recreation, public health, volunteering or community organising.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: The Rise of parkrun
2. An Inclusive Community?
3. Volunteering and Reciprocity
4. A Panacea for Health and Wellbeing?
5. ‘A Run Not a Race’
6. Becoming a (park)runner
7. Green Exercise
8. Conclusion: The Future of parkrun
David Hindley is Principal Lecturer at Nottingham Trent University’s Sport Science Department, UK. He is an enthusiastic middle-of-the-pack runner and has presented and published research related to recreational running, and parkrun specifically.
"Such an interesting read, offering a real insight into the impact and benefits of parkrun. Not only does David Hindley understand parkrun from a parkrunner's perspective, he also understands our organisational purpose and what drives our decision-making and our approach." – Nick Pearson, parkrun CEO 2015 to 2022
"An exceptional and comprehensive book which truly captures the essence of parkrun, its extraordinary 18-year history, and the global running revolution it has become for hundreds and thousands of parkrunners and volunteers around the world. David Hindley critically explores parkrun’s humble beginnings, exponential growth and beautiful journey into the parkrun we have come to know and love, and the future prospects of this wonderful community. I particularly enjoyed the author’s personal experiences which are embedded throughout this book offering glimpses into how they use and value parkrun. It made me reflect on my own personal perspective of parkrun, the wonderful people I have met and the amazing communities I have visited. There have been a number of excellent published books which have explored the perspectives of parkrun. In my opinion, this book cements these perspectives, meanwhile being the first to incorporate the plethora of published parkrun research and wider academic literature. A brilliant and insightful read." - Tom George, Run Director Doddington Hall parkrun, UK.