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Groundbreaking junior parkrun survey reveals a wealth of positive effects on young people and the wider community

In a groundbreaking effort to understand the impact of junior parkrun on young participants, the results of junior parkrun’s first Health and Well-being Survey revealed that three out of four children reported feeling happy when they participated in junior parkrun.

In April 2024, the first Health and Well-being Survey was conducted for junior parkrun, asking over 1,800 families across the UK to share their experiences. Its findings highlight the positive effects of junior parkrun on the physical, emotional and social well-being of the young people who kick-start their Sundays at the 2k community event every week.


There are now over 650,000 young people registered globally and 450 events that take place every Sunday.

This survey is also part of a broader initiative supported by the London Marathon Foundation and led by Dr Helen Quirk, an Embedded Researcher with parkrun and a Research Fellow in physical activity and public health at the University of Sheffield.


Key highlights showcase a profoundly positive experience for participants:


● 85% of parents and caregivers report that junior parkrun has had a positive impact on their child’s self-esteem.


● 77% of parents said their child was ‘proud of themselves’ the last time they went to junior parkrun.


● Three out of four children expressed happiness and 65% felt proud at their local junior parkrun events.


● 96% of families plan to continue going to junior parkrun.


● Two in three parents reported improvements in their child's physical activity levels and enjoyment of physical activities.


● More than half of parents and caregivers report their child has walked,

jogged and ran outside of junior parkrun as a result.


Dr Quirk says: “I’m thrilled to be working with parkrun on this exciting, ambitious and important research. We’re using this project to shine a light on junior parkrun’s potential, to understand how we can reach more people especially those who could benefit the most from taking part.”


The survey not only emphasised the emotional benefits but also shed light on the impact of junior parkrun on health and personal development. 85% of parents noted a positive enhancement in their child's self-esteem, attributing it to the supportive nature of junior parkrun. Additionally, parents reported improvements in their child's physical activity levels and enjoyment of physical activities, alongside the development of vital life skills such as resilience and goal-setting.



James Thomas, parkrun UK Health & Wellbeing Manager, shared: “The simple act of walking, running or volunteering in the outdoors on a Sunday morning is changing lives and we are grateful to the London Marathon Foundation for their support in helping us grow and develop junior parkrun. In the coming years, we hope as many people as possible join us to witness the benefits themselves and experience the joy of junior parkrun.”


With an overwhelming majority of respondents expressing their intent to continue participating, the survey highlights junior parkrun’s appeal and its impact on children, families, and communities. This influence extends beyond children, reaching other family members and the wider local community. Notably, 60% of families report feeling a stronger sense of connection to their community, while nearly half have seen an improvement in family bonding. One respondent states: "It has made a huge difference to my health and motivated me to get back to running after decades so that I can run with my son without struggling."


As junior parkrun continues to promote a culture of positivity, inclusivity and healthy lifestyle choices, we're ready to inspire future generations, enriching lives and strengthening community bonds along the way.


Contact: For press enquiries contact media@parkrun.com.


About junior parkrun




● Junior parkrun provides free, socially-focused, 2k events in public areas of open space for children between four and 14, their friends, relatives, parents, carers and volunteers.


● Since its first event in 2010, there are now over 650,000 young people registered globally and 450 events that take place every Sunday in the UK, Ireland and Australia. junior parkrun is part of parkrun, a UK-based global health and wellbeing charity that encourages movement in the company of others, in the outdoors, whether that be through walking, jogging, running, volunteering or coming along to cheer and socialise. There is no time limit and no one finishes last. Everyone is welcome to come along.


● parkrun started in 2004 with just 13 runners and five volunteers in London’s BushyPark. More than 9,000,000 people have registered for parkrun and over half a million people have volunteered worldwide. Events now take place in more than 2,400 locations in over 20 countries.


Find your local event or register at https://www.parkrun.org.uk/.

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