With 47 weekly Parkrun events, if you live within London’s outer barrier that is the M25, then you’ll almost certainly have heard of it. If not, then there’s bound to be one near you, from Hazelwood to Hanworth, and Osterley to Richmond.

So what is it? Parkrun is an ever-growing collection of 5-kilometre events for walkers, runners and volunteers. Taking place at over 2000 locations, in 27 different countries, the weekly Parkrun now operates on a global scale. All Parkruns are free to enter, and anyone can take part; from parents to pensioners, dog-walkers to wheelchair users, you can never finish last, as there is always a designated ‘tailwalker’ to bring up the rear!

Whatever the motive, the Parkrun moto will always remain the same: ‘weekly, free, 5k, for everyone, forever’. But participating in this weekly event is about more than just staying fit and healthy. Meeting people with similar interests, and socialising with fellow runners, are central to the Parkrun philosophy. For some, personal bests and winning classifies success; for others, it’s just about finishing.

The point being, it’s not just a run in a park; it’s a chance to get some exercise, to socialise, to follow the same routine every Saturday morning. They usually take place at the same time, at the same place, following the same course, each week, and there is no formal procedure before each run, other than a few announcements from the run director. Once completed, a well-earned breakfast isn’t too far away, as are your results, which are uploaded onto the Parkrun website soon after, revealing your time, as well as several other statistics.

So where did it all begin? The first ever Parkrun event was in Bushy Park, Teddington, on 2 October 2004, involving 13 fearless runners, and a small team of volunteers. It took nearly two years before Parkrun spread beyond Bushy, to Wimbledon. There are now over 700 Parkrun locations in the UK, with the majority receiving several hundreds of runners every week. And though getting overtaken by a pram-pusher is never a great feeling, it’s easy to see why the Parkrun is so popular; over 1000 now regularly attend the Bushy Parkrun! The number of benefits is astounding, and I’d strongly encourage you to find your local Parkrun soon.