We’re often asked why parkrun is so successful, and our answer is that we believe all human beings have an innate need to be active, social, and outdoors.
We believe that these are fundamental building blocks of health and happiness, and that without any one of them, regardless of steps counted or calories burned, our health deteriorates.
It is critical then, that as we look toward the future of sport and physical activity, we hold on to the human interaction that makes people healthier and happier, and that we continue to remove barriers to participation.
A future where events are more complicated and costly to deliver, and therefore harder to access, will only serve to further increase inequalities in health and happiness. We must strive to make outdoor events as simple, sustainable, and accessible as possible, and we must do everything in our power to engage those most in need.
Importantly, it is becoming increasingly apparent that outdoor environments present far less risk of transmission than indoor settings.
And as autumn approaches, with winter right behind it, understanding that difference, and supporting appropriate interventions, becomes more and more critical.
Not only do outdoor events have the ability to increase people’s activity levels, provide them with focus, structure, and the pride of achievement, but they also have the ability to move people out of indoor environments where the risk of infection is much greater.
The seasonality of coronavirus is not yet fully understood, however as the weather deteriorates and people move indoors, the more we can do to get people active, social, and outdoors, the better.
As part of this process we have recently commissioned a formal review of the evidence regarding the risks of coronavirus transmission in outdoor environments.
If, as we believe to be the case, gathering outdoors is shown to present an incredibly low risk of transmission, then we must do all we can to open up our streets, parks, and open spaces to everyone from mass participation providers to local volunteer groups.
Being active, outdoors, and social, improving our health and happiness, and getting off the couch, has never been so important as it is right now.