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Thursday, 9 December 2010

parkrun news - new parkruns!

Fantastic news in the parkrun weekly newsletter today, "the mayor of London has granted a pot of money for us to start another 20 parkruns across all London boroughs". This is truly brilliant news.

I actually heard this news on Monday after seeing a tweet from Rebecca Hall on Twitter. She can take a great deal of credit for starting the ball rolling, by first making the suggestion on the Westminster City Council website. The more of us that take this kind of approach and lobby the local councils and decision makers, the more parkruns we are bound to get as a result. And that has to be good news for everyone, not just existing parkrunners, but those out there that haven't even heard of parkrun yet. Lets get a parkrun in every community that wants one if we can!

I'm sure many people will be thinking, "but why more in London?". I believe that this is the wrong question to be asking. The fact remains that this is great news for parkrun. The fact that we (the parkrun community) are getting more parkruns in London is down (at least in part) to some forward thinking decision makers in London. Well done Boris! Obviously, it also has plenty to do with the fact that parkrun is such a wonderful concept and is so successful. Well done Paul Sinton-Hewitt (and all involved)!

parkrun is not just a weekly event, it is also an organisation, but as parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt says himself, parkrun events are community owned events. The local communities must take ownership of parkrun events once they have started, so why not take ownership to get them started in the first place. What we really need are more dedicated individuals (or teams) and more forward thinking councils to get new events set up, plus some decent funding of course.

parkrun started in London and is growing most rapidly in London. Many of us will want to see more events around the country and each of us hopes for them to appear close to home. I for one can't wait for the day when you can find a parkrun somewhere nearby wherever you find yourself on a Saturday morning. That situation is fast approaching now in London. Lets hope the rest of the country can catch up over the next few years. I'd place a big bet that it will.

The growth of parkrun has been pretty organic. As far as I am aware, there isn't a huge advertising push behind parkrun. Word spreads naturally through running circles and and between friends and eventually the people with the drive (or power) to get new events started become involved. What better way to spread the word nationwide, and even globally, than by making parkrun so visible in London, our capital and biggest city.

Personally I can only see parkrun growing and going from strength to strength. Admittedly funding is necessary for this to happen, but if this avenue in gaining funding from local government catches hold across the country, who knows how fast parkrun could grow.

Well done and a massive thank you to all involved. You are doing a great job, parkrun is brilliant!

And adapting a well known seasonal message, "Let it grow! Let it grow! Let it grow!".

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