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Jamaica Pond Park Run Group in Boston

Parkrun USA

For years I’ve been reading about Parkruns all over Europe. These articles described the parkrun as a fun, low stress and low cost way to get in a nice Saturday morning run.

When I looked for a parkrun in the GBA, I only found two. Parkruns are so popular in The UK and the rest of the world, how could there only be two in a run crazed area like Boston?

Part of the localized popularity has to do with the origins of the Parkrun movement.

What is ParkRun?

The Parkrun is a timed 5K run managed completely by volunteers and takes place mainly in public parks, thus Parkrun. While the event is timed, people of any ability are welcome. People walk, jog or run at their own pace.

These events are totally chill and use the hash tag, #thefeelgoodmovement.

Parkrun was founded by Paul Sinton-Hewitt on 2 October 2004 at Bushy Park in London, England. The event was originally called the Bushy Park Time Trial. The first event had 13 runners and three volunteers. describes parkruns:

Parkrun is a free, community event where you can walk, jog, run, volunteer or spectate. Parkrun is a 5k and takes place every Saturday morning.

Parkrun is positive, welcoming and inclusive, there is no time limit and no one finishes last. Everyone is welcome to come along.

Parkrun sounds much more chill than anything with “Time Trial” in it’s name!

They can call it a movement because from it’s humble beginning with 13 runners in 2004, there are now 2,200 parkruns in 23 countries! In 2018 there were 5 million runners registered world wide and a quarter million participating each week. And over 40,000 volunteers kept everything organized.

Other bloggers have described park runs as a fun, no cost way to run every week. Much like a running club, the same people tend to show up every week. As relationships grow, your motivation to return the next week grows.

While most running clubs are for everyone of any ability, they can still feel intimidating. Parkrun has sought to reduce the social and athletic anxiety by emphasizing participation. Come for a nice walk in the park, or volunteer.

How to join Parkrun

It’s simple for everyone to join parkrun: register in your home country, turn up at a parkrun event and take part with your parkrun barcode; wherever you want, whenever you want, how ever you want.

Registration is totally free! And once you have signed up you can participate at any Parkrun world-wide!

They ask the basic information that you would provide for a race registration: your name, address and contact information, emergency contact and how often you have engaged in 30 minutes of moderate exercise over the past four weeks.

Their terms and conditions are pretty simple also. These runs are held in public parks and run by volunteers, so you are agreeing to not hold anyone liable if you get hurt. You agree that you are fit enough to engage in this type of activity.

After you register they will send you a bar code. With this bar code you can join any park run in the US and around the world. All for free!

You can run, jog or volunteer to help with any of their events. They need people to check in participants and to help out on the course.

So if you just want to get outside and be with people, you can go to the park every Saturday morning and volunteer your time to others.

And if you want to walk or run some weeks, you are free to do that also.

How to join a Parkrun

The US site lists 65 locations, with four in New England. Two each in Maine and Massachusetts.

While that may not seem like many events, 15 states have none and California only has one! The densest cluster is in DC with three and two more just over the border in Maryland and two more further out but still in Maryland.

Parkrun US location map, find a parkrun in the us

Here are links to the two events in Massachusetts:

Danehy Park Danehy Park has about 200 runners and 200 volunteers.

Jamaica Pond The Jamaica Pond group is a larger group with 836 runners and 509 volunteers.

Each location has their own web page with location details, a course map and some photos. They also provide information on parking, facilities and where to grab a coffee after the activity with your new friends!

If you are registered with Parkrun, go to and click on “events” to find the local run. Then just show up Saturday morning at 9AM with your bar code. Registration is not required.

If you are new to Parkrun, see How to join Parkrun above. To have your time recorded you need to register ahead of time and bring your bar code.

Safety for all participants is essential to Parkrun. By registering ahead of time and signing in with a volunteer when you arrive, the organizers know who is participating and who to contact in case of an emergency.

Why join Parkrun?

Parkrun is a great way to socialize and get outside.

Many of us are still dealing with the after effects of COVID-19 and the isolation that many of us felt from lock-downs and remote work.

At a park run you can be as social as you want to be. There are sure to be walkers and runners of all abilities for you to participate with.

If you prefer some time alone with your thoughts, you can enjoy as much space as you want in your local park.

New to Running?

Joining a running club may feel intimidating and cause you to delay getting active. I know I felt that way and had my club application on my desk for a year before I went to a club run.

The casual nature of the park run movement makes it easy for people to get started, and that is what it is all about.

You need to start somewhere and sometime, and this low pressure environment is a great place to get started.

If you have no idea how to get started running, you will find people at a park run who can give you advice and help you learn about running.

They can help you set expectations, provide encouragement and help you pick the right running shoes and clothes.

Do you have Children?

If you have children who need some activity or who are interested in running, Parkrun is perfect.

Your child can walk or run with you in a casual, low-pressure environment. Seeing other people having fun and going their own pace sets a good example for your child. There may even be other children that they can make friends with and look forward to seeing each week.

Imagine going for a walk with your child every Saturday morning? How great would that be even if you only went when the weather was good?

A little fresh air and exercise can be beneficial to the mental health of children and adults.

Do you have questions about the appropriate level of activity for your child? Are they ready for running? Check out my blog post “What Distance can my Child Run” for some guidance on appropriate levels of activity and distances children can run at different ages.

Parkrun can be a great place for both adults and children to become active and discover the joy of running.

Run well My Friends!

Andy, pub-4167727599129474, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0

2 responses to “Parkrun USA”

  1. Ian Avatar

    From the UK and have loved and run parkrun for 10 years and have my 250 shirt. Can confirm it is for everyone and is addictive. Rarely plan a holiday without quietly checking if there is a local event. Have run in Florida as well as on Lake Ontario (Canadian side) and in Montreal. Had hoped New York had one in Central Park but no such luck!

    1. OmniRunner Avatar

      Hi Ian,
      Your comment is spot on what I have heard from others.
      I wish we had a few more around here.
      I’ve thought about organizing one, but there are few parks where we wouldn’t have to run 10 or more laps to get to 5K!
      Thank you for your comment.