Choose your park
parkruns can take place in town parks, sports grounds, woodlands or suitable space that's accessible and suitable for running. You may already have somewhere in mind but think of your local parks, whether it'll be possible to map a 5k track and make sure it's relatively easy to reach and accessible for most in your community. Once you've identified a suitable location, the next step will be to engage with your local council. The team at parkrun have lots of experience with this and have been working hard to engage with councils and local authorities right across the country. The good news is that it's getting much easier as parkrun really catches on and proves to be successful. The parkrun team will also help you to make sure you map the correct distance (remember it's always 5k!)
Recruit your team
To run your weekly event, you'll need a small team of committed and dedicated volunteers. They'll help you to set up the race every week and make sure that everything runs smoothly. the consistency of the event happening every week is an important element of what makes parkrun work so ensuring that there's a reliable team in place is always important.
parkrun volunteers come from all walks of life and may have a keen interest in running or may never have run 5k before, it really doesn't matter! You'll just need to ensure that they're as committed as you and they'll be there every Saturday to help set up and run things smoothly. The number of volunteers you'll need will really depend on the size of your event but starting with a team of 5-10 will ensure you have enough support to get things off the ground. Once the event is up and running more people know about it, you'll be able to quickly grow the number of volunteers if necessary.
Organise local funding
Organising a parkrun costs €7,500. This is a once off fee and covers all the equipment needed to start and sustain your event. parkrun Ireland provide 50% of this funding and ask that local leaders raise the other half locally. Often this will come from local sports partnerships and there has never been a case that a parkrun didn't happen due to lack of funding so don't be at all daunted by this task. Having the funding come from a local source is good for the event as it means that there is local buy-in and support ensuring long term sustainability.
The team at parkrun can provide lots of advice and support on the best place to get local funding
Get your parkrun kit
Once your funding is in place, you have secured your local park and you have your team of volunteers, you're almost ready to get started! There is a little bit of training and preparation to do before you're ready to host your first event. The parkrun Ireland team will help you out with this and they visit all new parkrun locations before they get off the ground to give you all the equipment you need to get started. People who wish to take part in parkrun simply register online and get a barcode which they print out and bring along to the event. You'll get your own scanner for this system and your equipment to time the run to ensure that each participant has their timed run each week. The process is super simple and works really well so you'll have all you need to make sure that it runs smoothly!
Set a date for your first run
You are almost there and almost ready for your very first event!
parkruns take place at approximately the same time all over the world - on Saturday mornings. The 130,000 events that have taken place all over the world show that this time works well and is a great time to get people of all ages and all abilities together for some fun and exercise. After the event, communities usually organise some sort of social aspect, maybe tea and coffee at a local cafe or even in the park. People having that excuse to come together, meet others in their community and do some exercise is a perfect start to a Saturday!