Changing the conversation about health

College of Medicine social prescribing champions: parkrun

In an occasional series, the College of Medicine looks at projects closely aligned with the social prescribing ethos, which inspire people to take better care of their health.

Our first pick is parkrun, a now-global running initiative that supports people of all athletic ability to run 5K in an organised setting. Here’s what you need to know…


Parkrun began with just 13 runners in a South London park back in 2004. In the 16 years that have followed, the project has become a global success with runs taking place in destinations as diverse as Italy, Namibia and Singapore.

Founded by Paul Sinton-Hewitt CBE, parkrun’s aim remains the same; to get more people running in a supportive environment.

The first parkrun took place in 2004 with just 13 runners; it’s now a global success and has earned founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt a CBE (Picture credit: Instagram/parkrun )

Taking place at venues – including beaches, parks and promenades – runners turn up on a Saturday and can walk, jog or run 5k. Youngsters are encouraged too, with 2k sessions held every Sunday.

Even better, parkrun is completely free; if you have a pair of trainers, you can do it as many times as you like in as many places. The runs are all organised and managed by a team of volunteers.


TWITTER: @parkrun

INSTAGRAM: @parkrunuk

FACEBOOK: facebook/parkrun