World Athletics x parkrun: A Model To Run With

World Athletics recently announced a partnership with parkrun, who will create events in future World Athletics host cities, including Eugene and Budapest. In return, World Athletics will encourage people to sign up to their local parkrun events. The partnership aims to assist growth of the sport and encourage people to stay active. 

Parkrun, which began in a London park in 2004, now attracts more than three million participants globally. The free 5k running events already take place at over 1,400 locations in 22 countries. The events have been hugely successful in boosting participation of running at a grass-roots level. Anyone, from club runners to parents with their children can take part. 

While parkrun has been temporarily brought to a halt, it is hoped that this new partnership will capitalise on the uptick in running participation caused by lockdown. Retailer Sports Direct told City sold 218% more pairs of running trainers online during the lockdown than in the same period a year earlier.

World Athletics hopes that by encouraging people to take part in a weekly parkrun, they will stay motivated beyond the coronavirus to keep themselves moving. Through their partnership with parkrun, World Athletics are also able to create a tangible legacy within the communities of future host cities – the overall health of the citizens of that city. 

Creating a connection between elite sport and grass-roots is so important for the continued engagement of fans with sports, teams, and events. Other governing bodies must find their own ways to increase their accessibility, and it looks as if the LTA is one such organisation to be doing just that.

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