Improving health and exercising more are the most common New Year’s resolutions and what better way is there of getting outside and exercising with others, than participating in a parkrun. In fact, 1176 people completed the five kilometres at the New Year’s Day parkrun in Bushy Park, the birthplace of parkrun, with 41 of these people doing parkrun for the first time. In comparison, the parkrun that took place four weeks prior had 900 finishers and only 11 of these were first timers; clearly showing that many people see the start of a new year to be a good time to start a new exercise routine. It was also a good day to exercise outside due to the unseasonably warm weather, with record high temperatures for January 1st of 16 degrees Celsius recorded in London.

Other than Bushy Park there are 740 locations in Great Britain that offer a free parkrun and they take place every Saturday as well as Christmas morning and New Year’s Day. These festive events always see larger numbers of runners and walkers than usual for those wishing to stay healthy during the festive period and to start the new year on the right foot.

The community spirit was high, more this year than any other year, after parkrun being unable to go ahead during previous lockdowns. Unfortunately, different COVID restrictions in Wales meant that parkruns had to be cancelled there. But where they went ahead, they were well attended, and the participants and volunteers were enthusiastic.

Julian Diamond, a regular parkrunner, stated, “I'm not much of a one for New Year’s resolutions but I absolutely love doing parkrun and missing a New Year’s Day parkrun would be a terrible way to start the new year. As a regular parkrunner, missing it on that day in particular would almost be like an anti-resolution.”

Parkrun has been shown to boost both physical and mental health as it can help people achieve improvements in fitness and also the social interactions and the sense of being part of a wide community can improve mental wellbeing. Volunteers can also get these benefits as being outside, is part of a healthy lifestyle and there are the mental benefits of being part of the same large parkrun family.

So, if you are looking for a new year’s resolution that you will want to keep, why not give parkrun a go!