Athletics Australia and parkrun Australia have today announced a ground breaking partnership that aims to grow community participation in recreational running and walking across the nation.
The agreement will see the two leading organisations affiliate and collaborate in an effort to better engage recreational runners with athletics club structures, directly contributing to Athletics Australia’s strategic priority of promoting athletics’ accessibility to all people, regardless of ability or background, for life.
A regular starter in parkrun events in his home town of Sydney (NSW), Athletics Australia President, Mark Arbib, is delighted to be realising an amazing opportunity to bridge the gap between recreational physical activity and traditional club-based programs.
“Athletics Australia’s aim is to make athletics relevant to the average Australian recreational runner and walker. If you are putting on a pair of runners and getting out to the park to get fit or challenge yourself, then we see you as a part of our sporting family and we want you to feel welcome and engaged. We are committed to making athletics the number one participation sport in the country and this parkrun agreement goes a long way towards achieving that,” Arbib said.
“The parkrun and Athletics Australia agreement will support parkrun to meet its increased logistical demands and to integrate our local running and athletic clubs as their key partners. We are already seeing a great deal of cooperation and dual events with our state organisations and the hope is that parkrun will be the running and recreational gateway to club running, building a mass participation base and pathway to our sport,” Arbib said.
Tim Oberg, Chief Executive Officer of parkrun Australia, is excited by the new agreement that builds upon Athletics Australia’s existing support to parkrun through its iRun event support and insurance program, with his organisation determined to help grow participation in athletics across Australia.
“As the largest grassroots running community in Australia, it makes complete sense that we would look to support Athletics Australia’s strategic goal of growing the sport across the country. I’m personally thrilled to be working alongside Mark Arbib, Phil Jones and the Athletics Australia team as we continue to build on our mission of establishing a parkrun event in every community that wants one,” Oberg said.
Arbib has been a long-time supporter of parkrun in Australia, which organises free and timed community runs every Saturday morning at more than 150 locations.
“As a committed parkrunner, I have seen firsthand the extraordinary success of the organisation. For parkrun Australia to have over 24,000 regular runners every Saturday and more than 300,000 on their books is a testament to their community ethos and grassroots model,” Arbib said.
“From a health and lifestyle perspective, parkrun is a participation giant, it continues to grow exponentially and has probably done more to get people off their backsides and couches than any other sporting organisation or government body. Importantly parkrun provides a free run every weekend for participants and it does it at very little cost through the power of the internet and social media.”
To celebrate the partnership, Athletics Australia and parkrun Australia will celebrate World Athletics Day on Saturday 21 May by encouraging members of Athletics Australia’s Member Associations and the broader community to take part in their local parkrun event alongside the thousands of existing parkrun participants.
Details on how to register for what will be an amazing celebration of athletics in Australia, and across the world, will be publicised in the coming days.