Seven new junior parkrun events established in Hertfordshire - Report

The exponential growth of junior parkruns in Hertfordshire stands as a testament to the power of community and collaboration.

From a single event in St Albans in 2014, the region now boasts 31 parkruns, including 14 for adults and 18 for juniors. This remarkable expansion is the result of concerted efforts by parkrun UK, Public Health Hertfordshire, Herts Sport & Physical Activity Partnership (HSP), local councils, private landowners, and various funders.

The project aimed to establish seven new junior parkruns in areas identified as needing increased physical activity opportunities. These areas often had higher rates of obesity or lacked sufficient physical activity provisions. By the end of the initiative, the new junior parkruns saw 7,942 participants and 3,540 volunteers, demonstrating a significant increase in community engagement and physical activity among young people.

Recruiting local volunteers was a key focus, with parkrun UK's marketing materials boosting interest. Each event required careful planning and mapping to avoid conflicts with existing runs and to ensure adequate support from local services.

The junior parkrun initiative has had profound impacts on Hertfordshire's communities. As the parkrun movement continues to thrive, the focus shifts to sustaining and expanding these efforts. A webinar hosted by HSP in January 2024 highlighted the successes and shared best practices with over 30 colleagues from 16 organizations. This initiative aims to inspire similar programs nationwide, with follow-up discussions already indicating potential new parkrun developments.

The growth of junior parkruns in Hertfordshire exemplifies the impact of strategic collaboration and community involvement in promoting health and wellbeing. As these events continue to flourish, they promise to bring even more benefits to local communities, fostering a healthier, more active generation.

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junior parkrun report

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