- Community Parkrun events organized globally in 22 countries
- Some results were removed from the websites; now focus on inclusion
- The sport began in London’s Bushy Park in October 2004.
- The first recorded race in Australia was on the Gold Coast in 2011.
Parkrun, a popular global sport with millions of participants, has caught the attention of many members after controversially removing speed-based records from its website.
The new goal is to actively encourage a “non-competitive and inclusive” environment, and it is also hoped that the removal of timed results will lead to an influx of social runners who simply enjoy being outdoors.
Community parkrun events, which originated in London in 2004, are now organized in 22 countries, including 488 in Australia.
In the United Kingdom, the sport has come under recent criticism after allowing transgender women to participate in the women’s category.
Former British Olympians Mara Yamauchi and Sharron Davies have expressed frustration at the decision, and UK think tank Policy Exchange has confirmed that “at least three” women’s parkrun records are currently held by trans women.
Parkrun, a global sport with millions of participants, has attracted attention after removing speed-based records from its website (pictured is Australian politician Kristina Keneally completing an event in 2019).
The new aim of Parkrun events is to foster a “non-competitive and inclusive” environment, and the recent removal of timed results is also expected to lead to an influx of new competitors.
Community runs, which originated in London in 2004, are now held in 22 countries (pictured, a Parkrun event in Mt Barker, South Australia).
Modifications to the website, in particular The elimination of many speed-based records, such as course records and age categories, will anger dozens of participants.
It is also understood the The website will also stop recording the number of men who finish Parkrun events in less than 17 minutes, or women who complete the 5km course in less than 20 minutes.
Only basic event results will now be published.
Parkrun head of communications Kirsty Woodbridge noted many changes in digital media over the years as the “organisation continues to evolve.”
“We seek to ensure that the information we share is consistent with our values… and we also continue to find ways to remove barriers to registration and participation,” he said.
‘We know that our websites are an important source of information for all parkrunners, especially those who are new and not yet participating (in events).
“We have therefore set up a global working group to consider how we can present the data in a way that is not distasteful… and does not imply that parkrun is a race.”
Ultimately, the key objective of sport is to “provide a opportunity to be active, social and outdoors in a non-competitive, inclusive and welcoming environment,” according to the website.
In Australia, the first parkrun race was at Main Beach on the Gold Coast in 2011.