One of the UK’s largest parkruns broke its attendance record on Saturday when 868 people ran three miles round Endcliffe Park.
“We’re really excited to have smashed our attendance record of 804, set back in April 2018,” said Ben Heller of Sheffield Hallam University, one of the run directors at Sheffield Hallam parkrun, who was also one of the first runners when the event started with 36 people in July 2010.
“At that time, we thought it would be fantastic if we ever got to 100 runners, but we hit that number in October 2010 and have been growing ever since.”
The record attendance was smashed on a day when the run was directed by one of Hallam’s many teenage volunteers, 17 year old Finlay Cooper.
“This record shows what parkrun is all about: the run director was a teenager, the mix of runners had everything from those doing a 16 minute 5k to those walking the distance for their first 5k ever, and a large proportion of children having fun,” said Steve Haake, chair of the International parkrun Research Board, also a regular Sheffield Hallam parkrunner.
“Sheffield should be proud of not only this parkrun – now one of the biggest in the country – but also the four others across the city that attracted just under 2,000 people on Saturday morning.”
The Outdoor City’s parkruns – at Concord, Hillsborough, Graves, Endcliffe and Manor Fields parks, and Rother Valley just across the border in Rotherham – offer a free volunteer-managed chance to run, jog or walk a timed 3 mile (5km) course every Saturday at 9am.
The international parkrun organisation announced a record international attendance the previous weekend with 340,000 people walking, running or volunteering across 1,650 events in 20 countries.
“Over the years we have learnt how to cope with the huge numbers at Sheffield Hallam, so even though we had runners finishing more than one every second at the busiest times, we were able to get them all through and processed with minimal delays thanks to our brilliant volunteers,” said Ben Heller.
“It’s worth saying that all the Sheffield events are seeing similar increases, making the overall growth in people doing parkrun in the area quite incredible. Sheffield has really taken parkrun to its heart!”