2020 vision for more parkruns in Scotland

Finishing the year with over 20% more events than it started with, parkrun, the free Saturday morning 5k, has had a brilliant 2019 in Scotland.

With 13 new runs starting in 2019 – including Crathes, Dean Castle, Drumpellier, Lochend Woods,Oriam, Queens and the University of Stirling – the total number of 5k events in Scotland now stands at 56.

Not to be outdone by the grown-ups, 2019 has been a great year for the juniors, too. Three new 2k runs have brought the total number of junior parkrun events in Scotland to 18.

As for parkrun as a whole, the biggest change this year has been in how new events are named. As Liz Corbett, Lead Ambassador (Volunteer) for Scotland explained to runABC Scotland when we caught up with her for a year-end chat, rather than being related to the town (or part of a town) in which a run appears, new events are now named very specifically after the location of the park in which the event is held.

Thus the North East’s newest event was not christened ‘Inverurie parkrun’, after the town in which it is held, but ‘Ury Riverside’, after the park hosting it; similarly, Stranraer’s new run was called ‘Agnew’ after its home in Agnew Park.

The new naming policy, determined by parkrun HQ and applied globally, hasn’t been popular with everyone. But as Corbett explains, the new rules are all about establishing parkrun on a global scale: some names may not translate ‘locally’, but make sense as part of a bigger picture of event naming.

With that in mind, Corbett advises everyone to consult parkrun’s event pages and interactive map to see exactly where runs are located – especially as parkrun continues to expand in Scotland: events in Kelso (‘Wallaceneuk’) and Stornoway (‘Lews Castle’) will be arriving in the New Year.

Unsurprisingly, Corbett has been very pleased with how parkrun’s Scottish year has gone. Keen to expand into more rural areas, Corbett is particularly pleased with how parkrun has been growing on the islands – Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute started in September – and hopes to see more events in the years to come.

Corbett said: “We’d love to have more parkruns on the islands, but it can be difficult to find suitable locations. We’d love to have an event on Skye, for instance, but as far as terrain is concerned, it’s largely mountains, unsuitable roads or narrow paths. We’d love to have an event on Barra too!”

Anyone thinking about starting a parkrun in Skye, Barra, or indeed anywhere else in Scotland is invited to get in touch with parkrun directly, for information, guidance and support.

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