ParkRun reaches out to an ever greater number of recreational runners in Ireland and an area which may be under consideration in the future by organisers, sponsors VHI, Sport Ireland and our Own National Lottery could be the #TeamParkRun events taking place across Britain on August 19th.
Over there the National Lottery, UK Sport and parkrun UK are inviting the nation to join Britain’s top athletes at #teamparkrun events.
According to organisers, the series of events will “celebrate the public’s support of elite and community sport through playing The National Lottery by having the nation’s sporting heroes take to parkrun events across the UK to volunteer and inspire the nation to get active.”
#teamparkrun will also be backed by Sport England, Sport Scotland, Sport Wales, Sport Northern Ireland, the British Olympic Association and British Paralympic Association, as well as a host of national governing bodies, and follows on from the success of I am Team GB last year, which inspired nearly 1 million people to take part in the nation’s biggest ever sports day.
I Am Team GB was designed to celebrate the success of Britain’s athletes at the Rio 2016 Games. That’s probably a better way than any number of receptions.
On 19 August 2017, following the IPC and IAAF World Athletics Championships, hosted in the iconic London Stadium which was the epicentre of the London 2012 Games, National Lottery-funded athletes from across various Olympic and Paralympic sports will take to parks across the UK to act as volunteer Tail Walkers, who ensure that no one ever finishes last at a parkrun event.
National Lottery players have been backing Britain’s record-breaking Olympic and Paralympic athletes for 21 years this year, and to say ‘thank you’ to all these players, athletes will be taking up the role as Tail Walkers to get right behind the nation as they try parkrun for the very first time – either walking, jogging, running or volunteering themselves – with a view to starting their journey to a more healthy, active lifestyle.
Over 630 parkruns (5k) and junior parkruns (2k) take place every weekend across the UK, and are a free, sociable and highly accessible way for everyone to take their first steps towards a more active lifestyle, whether they choose to walk, jog, run or volunteer the first time they go along.
“The nation, and especially National Lottery players, have been backing us as athletes for 21 years now and none of us would be where we are today without their support,” said Chair of UK Sport Dame Katherine Grainger.
“While sport and activity are integral to our lifestyles, we know that for some people taking up activity for the first time can be a scary prospect. parkrun offers a free, friendly and welcoming way to start, and our athletes will be there on August 19 to make any newcomers feel extra welcome.
“One of the most common reasons that people register with parkrun but don’t go on to take part is because they don’t feel capable of running 5k,” added Nick Pearson, CEO of ParkRun in the UK.
“This initiative will reinforce the message that not only do we encourage walkers at parkrun, but that all of our events have volunteer Tail Walkers who provide support along the course.”
The Irish National Lottery is a major driver of funding for sport here but in doing so through the general Department of Finance, rarely gets the recognition for sport as one of its good causes. Perhaps looking to what is after all the parent company of the lottery in the UK might yield a way to make that link more obvious…