World Athletics has announced a new partnership with parkrun, which will combine the pair’s resources in order to grow athletics as well as promote physical health and wellbeing.
World Athletics and parkrun will work together to encourage people around the world to get moving by joining a local parkrun, pooling the governing body’s 214 Member Federations, to promote the community 5k and junior 2k run series, which has events in 20 countries.
“We have just approved a strategic plan that has the main objective of using the power and accessibility of athletics and our athletes to create a healthier and fitter world,” said Jon Ridgeon, CEO, World Athletics.
“One of the ways we are doing this is by developing strong new partnerships where our common cause is to get the world moving. We know that many more people have taken up running during the lockdowns around the world, which makes sense because our sport is the most universal and accessible of all sports, and we want to encourage those people to keep up their new fitness routines as life returns to a more normal footing after the pandemic. Doing a weekly parkrun is an excellent way to stay motivated and find a local running community once mass events are possible again.
“We’re also determined to leave tangible community legacies in all of our future host cities and countries, and there is no better way to do that than by helping to improve the health of their citizens.”
Parkrun will assist World Athletics to leave community health legacies in the host countries of World Athletics Series events by creating a series of permanent parkruns in the host cities and countries of world championship events, including the World Championships Oregon 2022 and Budapest 2023.
World Athletics says it will facilitate government and city support for these permanent events.
Nick Pearson, CEO, Parkrun, said: “This partnership offers parkrun a fantastic platform to demonstrate the role, relevance and value of community health and wellbeing initiatives and to highlight that sport and physical activity is accessible to all.
“It is exciting to see this approach embraced by World Athletics, and we look forward to working with stakeholders in the host countries of World Athletics Series events to support and develop a network of parkrun events.
“We believe that finding positive ways to connect grassroots and community activity with elite sport has multiple benefits and builds stronger sporting foundations and broader engagement. Exercise and physical activity is more accessible and sustainable where sports organisations collaborate and work towards mutual goals. Encouraging the social and community participants to engage with and experience a more competitive sporting environment will help to build a stronger sport and expose pathways to more sporting opportunities.”