parkrun and GoodGym, two of the UK’s biggest providers of free, organised physical activity and volunteering have joined forces in an exciting new partnership to extend their positive impact by engaging runners in supporting 60,000 older people by 2020.
Since 2004, parkrun has grown from 13 runners in London’s Bushy Park to become the world’s biggest running event. More than 150,000 runners and walkers of all ages take part in parkruns every weekend across 14 countries, thanks to the contribution of more than 10,000 weekly volunteers.
GoodGym is a growing community of runners who combine exercise with helping local communities. Members stop off on runs to support isolated older people and undertake manual labour for community organisations. GoodGym runners have carried out thousands of runs to help older people in London and Bristol, and GoodGym aims to launch in every city in the UK by 2018.
parkrun and GoodGym will make it easier than ever for people to get involved in volunteering and physical activity. Through the partnership, which will include website integration, parkrunners will be invited to GoodGym runs and GoodGym runners will be invited to parkrun. The organisations will also aim to collaborate to bring their work to new cities. Following the partnership launch at Mile End parkrun on Saturday 10 September, a group of people ran to Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park and planted 1,500 bulbs and cleared ivy from gravestones.
There are a million people in the UK who are often lonely, and 2.4 million who have no one local to ask for help. The aim of this partnership is to simultaneously increase physical activity and reduce the number of people who feel isolated and lonely.
Nick Pearson, parkrun CEO said: “GoodGym share our vision to create a healthier and happier planet. Together we can do this by providing free physical activity, removing barriers to participation and creating inclusive, welcoming communities and friendships.
“A number of parkrunners already contribute their time to GoodGym projects, and we hope this partnership will provide a pathway for even more to join in and support both community projects and older people in their local areas.”
Ivo Gormley, founder of GoodGym said: “If you are running in a city, you are probably running past the house of someone who is alone and who hasn’t seen family or friends for days, possibly weeks. This partnership will make it easier for runners to stop off and support those people older people wherever they live.
“Getting involved with both GoodGym and parkrun allows you to meet loads of amazing people, improve your running and do lots of good for your local community. parkrun and GoodGym offer a range of activities that can make the UK a healthier, happier place to live in, not just for those who run.”
Further details about the partnership will be announced shortly.
Photos courtesy of Bruce Li