- Parkrun community events staged globally in 22 countries
- Some results removed from websites, focus now on inclusion
- Sport began in London’s Bushy Park in October of 2004
- First recorded race in Australia was on Gold Coast in 2011
Parkrun – a popular global sport with millions of participants – has raised eyebrows with many members after controversially removing speed-based records from its website.
The fresh aim is to actively encourage a ‘non-competitive and inclusive’ environment, and it is also hoped the scrapping of timed results will see an influx of social runners simply enjoying being outdoors.
Originating in London back in 2004, parkrun community events are now staged in 22 countries, including 488 in Australia.
In the UK, the sport has endured recent criticism after allowing transgender women to participate in the female category.
Former British Olympians Mara Yamauchi and Sharron Davies have voiced their frustration at the decision, with UK think tank Policy Exchange confirming ‘at least three’ parkrun female course records are currently held by trans women.
Parkrun – a global sport with millions of participants – has raised eyebrows after removing speed-based records from its website (Australian politician Kristina Keneally is pictured, completing an event in 2019)
The new aim of Parkrun events is to encourage a ‘non-competitive and inclusive’ environment – and it is also hoped the recent scrapping of timed results will see an influx of new competitors
Originating in London back in 2004, the community runs are now staged in 22 countries (pictured, a Parkrun event at Mt Barker, South Australia)
The website alterations, notably removing many speed-based records such as course and age-category records, are set to infuriate scores of participants.
It is also understood the website will also cease recording the number of men who finish Parkrun events in under 17 minutes – or women who complete the 5km course in under 20 minutes.
Only basic results from events will now be published.
Parkrun head of communications Kirsty Woodbridge pointed to many changes in digital media over the years as the ‘organisation continues to ‘evolve’.
‘We look to make sure the information we share is consistent with our values….and we also continue to find ways to remove barriers to registration and participation,’ she said.
‘We know that our websites are an important source of information for all parkrunners, especially those who are new and yet to take part [in events].
‘Therefore we established a global working group to consider how we can present data in a way that is not off-putting….and doesn’t imply that parkrun is a race.’
Ultimately, the key aim of the sport is to ‘provide an opportunity to be active, social and outside in a non-competitive, inclusive and welcoming environment’, according to the websire.
In Australia, the first parkrun was at Main Beach on the Gold Coast in 2011.