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Exploring the health-promoting potential of the 'parkrun' phenomenon: What factors are associated with higher levels of participation?


Cleland, V and Nash, M and Sharman, MJ and Claflin, S, Exploring the health-promoting potential of the 'parkrun' phenomenon: What factors are associated with higher levels of participation?, American Journal of Health Promotion, 33, (1) pp. 13-23. ISSN 0890-1171 (2019) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright The Author(s) 2018

DOI: doi:10.1177/0890117118770106


Purpose: "parkrun" is a free and increasingly popular weekly 5-km walk/run international community event, representing a novel setting for physical activity (PA) promotion. However, little is known about who participates or why. This study aimed to identify sociodemographic, health, behavioral, individual, social, and environmental factors associated with higher levels of participation.

Design: Cross-sectional.

Setting: Tasmania, Australia; June 2016.

Participants: Three hundred seventy two adult parkrun participants.

Measures: Online survey measuring sociodemographic, health, individual, social and environmental factors, parkrun participation, and PA.

Analysis: Descriptive statistics, zero-truncated Poisson regression models.

Results: Respondents (n = 371) were more commonly women (58%), aged 35 to 53 years (54%), and occasional or nonwalkers/runners (53%) at registration. A total of 44% had overweight/obesity. Half had non-adult children, most spoke English at home, and 7% reported PA-limiting illness/injury/disability. Average run/walk time was 30.2 7.4 minutes. Compared to regular walkers/runners at registration, nonwalkers/runners were less commonly partnered, more commonly had overweight/obesity, less physically active, and had poorer self-rated health. Multivariate analyses revealed relative parkrun participation was inversely associated with education level and positively associated with interstate parkrun participation, perceived social benefits, self-efficacy for parkrun, and intentions to participate.

Conclusion: parkrun attracts nonwalkers/runners and population groups hard to engage in physical activity. Individual- and social-level factors were associated with higher relative parkrun participation. parkrun's scalability, accessibility, and wide appeal confers a research imperative to investigate its potential for public health gain.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:behavior, body weight, body weights and measures, epidemiologic methods, epidemiologic studies, exercise, health, health promotion, life style
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Public health
Research Field:Health promotion
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Behaviour and health
UTAS Author:Cleland, V (Associate Professor Verity Cleland)
UTAS Author:Nash, M (Associate Professor Meredith Nash)
UTAS Author:Sharman, MJ (Dr Melanie Sharman)
UTAS Author:Claflin, S (Dr Suzi Claflin)
ID Code:126116
Year Published:2019 (online first 2018)
Web of Science® Times Cited:10
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2018-05-23
Last Modified:2019-03-15

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