spread a little parkrun kindness

This week was the deadline for the parkrun youth panel’s first mission… to write the ‘parkrun anti-bullying policy’. The parkrun youth panel consists of 75 BRILLIANT young people, aged 4 to 17, who help give a young person’s point of view on all sorts of stuff that will keep shaping and improving parkrun.


About a month ago, Rowan Ardill (parkrun’s Engagement Officer) and I posted out the first mission, to creatively put together some positive statements to include in the final parkrun anti-bullying policy, due out later this year. The response has been fantastic; using a great range of art, IT and general creativity, we’ve had some thoughtful, kind and inclusive statements which I can’t wait to pull together into the final policy. Here’s a sneak preview of the sort of thing you can expect: ­

  • Ask new runners if they would like to run with you
  • Always encourage runners, no matter how fast or slow
  • Be kind and friendly
  • Celebrate everyone’s achievements

These got me thinking; wouldn’t the world be an even more brilliant place if everyone stuck to these ‘rules’? As Gandhi once said, ‘you must be the change you want to see in the world’, so let’s all start today. I’m sure lots of you have just started in a new class, year or school, so why not apply your parkrun attitude to your everyday life. If you see someone looking lost, sad, or lonely, why not go and say hello, be kind and encouraging. Better still, why not invite them to parkrun next weekend?!

As Roald Dahl, my favourite author, once said: “I think probably kindness is my number one attribute in a human being”.



Clare, Safeguarding Lead


PS ­Fancy joining the youth panel? Great! We’re always happy to have new members. Just drop an email (or ask your parents) to youthpanel@parkrun.com


Thanks to Bruce Li for the lovely photos.


smile and say cheese!

A big part of my job here at parkrun is making sure we are all doing everything we can to keep our entire parkrun family – runners, walkers, volunteers, children, adults – as safe and happy as possible.


This means that every now and again we’ll be introducing slightly new or different ways of doing things. These changes will be small. Most people won’t have to change anything at all, a few people will just have to do things a little bit differently. What I won’t be doing is asking anyone to do anything in a way that will stop them enjoying parkrun, or that will mean parkrun is no longer as brilliant as it is today.

Coming soon is a new ‘photo and video policy’, to help us all make sure that parkrun related photos and videos are used in a positive, friendly and safe way. parkrun has nearly a million followers on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) as well as huge numbers of people looking at the parkrun websites and newsletters. This means that if someone takes a photo or video of you at parkrun, it has the potential to be viewed by millions of people. Which is a BRILLIANT thing (I know I love it!) as long as that photo or video is positive, and one you are happy with.


Sadly, we all know about some of the negative sides to social media. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all amazing, I wouldn’t do without any of them in my life, but only when used sensibly and safely. Imagine someone took a photo of you that you didn’t like, and then put it on Facebook with your full name so everyone could find you, and someone nasty saw the photo and decided to say unpleasant things at school… it’s this sort of thing I try and stop happening with the ‘photo and video policy’.

What I don’t want is for you all to stop taking, posing for and tweeting photos. They’re a brilliant way of letting everyone know just how much fun we have every week.

Here is a sneak preview of the policy…

1. No names. Ideally, no full names would be attached to images of individuals. If the story/ communication would benefit from names being included, only use first names. As with all things parkrun, please let common sense prevail: if you have permission to attach someone’s name to a photo/ someone has been pleading with you to use their photo then of course it’s OK.
2. No ID. Avoid the inclusion of detailed information that could make individuals easy to trace, e.g. no pictures of children in a specific school uniform.
3. Appropriate clothing. Only use images of people in suitable dress to reduce the risk of inappropriate use, e.g. no pictures of people in swimwear.
4. Think positive. Images that are published or shared should positively reflect people’s involvement in parkrun, e.g. smiling and laughing parkrunners, not anxious or unhappy ones.
5. Be inclusive. Wherever possible, photographs should include groups, not individuals, and should represent the broad range of people participating, e.g. boys and girls, people with disabilities, members of all communities. Again, let common sense prevail: if the purpose of a photo is to illustrate a story about an individual’s achievement then of course it is ok to be of just that individual.
6. Delete if asked. If an individual, a parent or a carer asks for any photo to be removed or deleted, it should be done without question at the earliest opportunity.
7. Permission. Due to parkrun events taking place in public settings, it is not possible for individuals to opt in or out of being photographed/ filmed at an event. For this reason, it’s important that all event-specific websites state that photographing or filming is likely to take place. If you know in advance that specific/ out of the ordinary photography is going to take place on a specific week, e.g. parkrun are sending someone to take a video to be used for a specific promotional purpose, alert people to this beforehand via social media and your website, and include it in your pre-run briefing.
8. Volunteer photographers. At times, parkrun events will have a volunteer photographer in attendance. This is someone who is taking photographs/ videos for inclusion in parkrun UK communication and social media channels. Photographers must:
• register as an official volunteer
• make themselves known to the Run Director
• wear a high-vis vest at all times during the event




Safeguarding Lead

P.S. A word from Mike Graney, A41158, and Head of Analysis:
"Through September we are running an online survey of junior parkrun participants. This will include questions for both parents/carers and the young participants themselves. The goal is to help build an understanding of your experience of junior parkrun and the impacts it has on the young people who take part, their families and the communities we are part of. If you receive an email invitation to complete the survey, please do the best you can to take five minutes or so to complete it so we can get the best quality data we can. Mank thanks, Mike."

As always, a giant thank you to Bruce Li for the photos


Making the magic happen

Last Sunday saw the launch of four new junior parkruns: Bramley, Avenham Park, Laleham and Chichester.  When I heard about this, I was delighted, imagining how many new young people were now able to join in at a junior parkrun on a Sunday morning, and how many parents, grandparents, uncles, aunties, and other family and friends could enjoy watching, supporting and volunteering. Or taking the more active option and running, jogging or walking the 2k course alongside their 4 to 14 year olds.


What I didn’t think about was how much hard work and effort had gone in to getting those events off the ground. That is, until a chance comment from parkrun ambassador, and half of the dream-team behind Laleham junior parkrun, Rory Murphy: “I’ve been plotting this with Emma since March 2015”. March 2015? Wow, I had no idea that it could take so long to get a new junior parkrun off the ground. Did you?


I’m sure that everyone who reads this loves junior parkrun as much as I do. But how much thought have you given to the time and effort that goes in to starting one? Here’s just a very brief ‘behind the scenes’ insight…

  1. Someone has to have the idea about starting a new parkrun!
  2. They have to find and measure a suitable course; easier said than done.
  3. Next, someone has to find someone willing to fund it. Luckily, junior parkrun is such good value for money that local councils usually find it hard to say no!
  4. Not forgetting to gain permission to let us use the park.
  5. Consider health and safety stuff.
  6. And some child protection stuff too.
  7. No parkrun would work without a brilliant team of core volunteers, so these have to be appointed and confirmed.
  8. Core volunteers then have several different lots of training, and appropriate criminal record checks carried out.
  9. They need to take delivery of the kit, things like cones, bibs, stop watches, scanners, barcodes, laptops, etc, and understand what to do with it.
  10. Some more training.
  11. Don’t forget websites and social media!
  12. A trial event need to take place and the course needs to be accurately measured.
  13. Then all the planning to make sure that the inaugural run goes without a hitch.
  14. And this is all before it even starts!!!

junior parkrun

And just in case you lost interest in my list, who could tell the story better than two people who have just been through this very process, over to you, Rory and Emma (Laleham):  

Rory: "I've been involved in activating two junior parkruns and both took their time. I'd argue setting up a junior parkrun involves a lot more than a normal 5k parkrun as you have so much more to think about, especially around course design and safeguarding. You typically need a bigger core team because of marshal demands. Never underestimate how much work goes into setting a junior parkrun up - but it is truly a labour of love. I've just had an inaugural event that was 16 months in the planning and execution. It was born out of a conversation with my friend Emma about the need for a junior parkrun in our area. That started months of plotting and planning, scoping out courses before settling on one that suited our needs... Emma can tell the rest…"  

Emma: "Laleham Park is a beautiful, large space tucked away between Laleham and Chertsey close to the River Thames.  Perfect for a junior parkrun, we thought! We looked, and we thought, and we measured and we thought some more. We talked to the council and they were extremely positive about it all. They helped us with the funding, permissions, storage and advice, as did the parkrun [HQ] team.  Alongside this, we quietly built a core team of volunteers who were sworn to secrecy! We held a small test event in mid-July, and today we finally (but still quietly!) unveiled the event with our perfect inaugural. We had 40 runners, of whom 21 ran their first ever junior parkrun, whilst others were experienced junior parkrunners.  We couldn't have written a better script."


So, next time you’re at a junior parkrun, please say thank you to the volunteers, or even better, why not volunteer as a way of thanking the core team for everything they’ve done to get your event where it is today.


Clare Fowler

Safeguarding Lead at parkrun UK


Big thanks to Bruce Li for his ever-brilliant photos, and to Rory Murphy and Emma Rowley for their fabulous quotes.

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