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Evidence on the reach and impact of parkrun: a review

A team of academics reviewed existing research highlighting that parkrun participants show improvements in, among other things, fitness, total physical activity, and mood.

parkrun is unique among interventions for increasing physical activity – few have enjoyed the international popularity that parkrun has, or have lasted so long. The research highlights that parkrun participants show improvements in, among other things, fitness, total physical activity, and mood (stress, anxiety and depression). Most encouraging is that the positive effects are largest for those who are less active when they registered with parkrun, and that there is a dose response: that is, the more frequently someone participates in parkrun events, the bigger the positive impact.

The emphasis on participation rather than competition and its social nature are thought to drive parkrun’s appeal to traditionally underrepresented groups in sport and physical activity, such as women or those who are less active.