Parkrun FAQs


For commonly asked questions about parkrun, your registration and how to become a ‘parkrun Practice’, please review the FAQs below:


parkrun Australia and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) have partnered to encourage and empower GP practices across Australia to link with their local parkrun to become ‘parkrun Practices’, which is a voluntary collaboration between a GP practice and a parkrun event.

Before registering to be a parkrun Practice, we ask that you reach out to your local parkrun or go along to your local parkrun to let them know you are interested in becoming a parkrun Practice!

Find your local parkrun here and get in touch

By signing up, the GP practice will become a ‘parkrun Practice’, actively encouraging and promoting parkrun to patients and practice staff. The initiative is optional, self declared, and creativity is encouraged in the way in which practices and parkrun events implement the initiative.

For more information, resources and case studies please see the parkrun Practice website 

The parkrun Practice Initiative was first launched in the UK in June 2018 between parkrun UK and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP). In January 2020 the initiative was launched in Ireland in collaboration with the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP). An evaluation of the initiative was undertaken by Warwick Medical School, led by Dr Jo Fleming.  The results have been published in the British Journal of General Practice and in Health and Social Care in the Community.


parkrun Australia is a not-for-profit organisation that supports communities to deliver free, weekly, volunteer-led 5km events in public areas of open space every Saturday morning. parkruns are informal and non-competitive – there are no winners, nobody comes last thanks to volunteer Tail Walkers, and you can take part with your dog or push a baby in a  pram.                     

People of all ages, backgrounds and abilities are supported to walk, run, volunteer or spectate, and no experience or training is required. The aim of parkrun is to create pathways for everyone in society to get involved in their local event in a way that is safe, enjoyable and leads to regular participation.

parkrun events are free to take part in and there is no obligation to attend every week – you just turn up whenever you like.

All participants should register with parkrun before their first event using the form on the parkrun website, print off their personal barcode and bring it to parkrun whenever they attend. Participants only need to register once, as their barcode is then valid at any parkrun in the world every week. parkrun has a dedicated support site with FAQs, or alternatively people can contact the local parkrun event team using the contact details on the event’s website.     



 


The safety of all participants is parkrun’s main priority and a number of policies and procedures to ensure parkrun events in Australia are as safe as possible have been implemented, including:

  • Public liability insurance for all events
  • Annually reviewed risk assessments for every event
  • First aid kits at all events
  • Event Automated External Defibrillator (AED) provision at every event
  • Safeguarding guidelines and support
  • Event-day course checks prior to every event
  • Compulsory Tail Walker at all events
  • Globally-managed recording and reviewing of all incidents
  • Monthly volunteer update to all volunteers


This is a collaboration between the practice and the parkrun event, and we strongly encourage the Practice to make contact with your local event team. Either chat with the friendly volunteer team at a parkrun event or drop them an email. The contact details can be found on each event’s webpage.


A map of all parkrun events can be found on the parkrun website.                   

If there is not yet a parkrun event nearby, you could do what Sloan Medical Centre in England did in 2012 and start one! More information can be found here.



 


Registering to be a parkrun Practice is easy and can be done here. Please do speak to your local parkrun event team before signing up though!

We recommend at least one designated person should be chosen as the principal contact within the practice, but this doesn’t have to be a GP. Whoever is most passionate about parkrun and can make the time is the best person to lead. And everyone can have a role to play! GPs, nurses, receptionists, practice managers and more can get involved in the initiative and play a part in signposting people to parkrun.

Of course, everyone is welcome at parkrun whether that be to walk, jog, run, volunteer or simply come along and watch.  


There’s probably been a minor technical glitch - we’re really sorry! Welcome emails are sent out automatically once you register but if you haven't received this please drop the RACGP a brief email here and we’ll sort it out for you straight away.


No. We’ve worked hard to ensure that it isn’t and that there aren’t lots of hoops to jump through. It is really up to the practice how it wants to promote parkrun, and many of the activities are easy to undertake. Although we would love for staff to participate in parkrun regularly, there is no obligation to attend parkrun every week and/or accompany patients to the event.


No. The registration form to become a ‘parkrun Practice’ is different to the registration form that we ask individuals to complete before they walk, run or volunteer at parkrun for the first time. However, if any individual within the practice wants to sign up to parkrun then great! It’s a short form, here, you only complete it once and of course it’s free!


Yes, many practices are lucky to have more than one parkrun nearby so it’s fine to link with more than one. However, it’s important you contact the event team at each parkrun you plan to link with before or directly after signing up.  


Yes! It’s helpful to make the parkrun events team aware of this, but we certainly encourage it. For example, a given town may have one parkrun and more than one interested practice. We encourage you to make contact with the other practice(s) partnered to your local parkrun to share ideas, success stories, and collaborate for relevant parkrun events.


All members of staff are encouraged to get involved, not just GPs and GPs do not have to be an RACGP member to sign up.


No. Of course, we would love for as many GPs and practice staff as possible to participate in parkrun, but there is no obligation to do so and no-one will be checking to see if, or how often, you all attend! Through the parkrun Practice initiative, we simply want to create whole communities based on healthy, active lifestyles, and hopefully participation in parkrun can be part of the journey for both staff and patients.


 


You don’t need to accompany the patient to parkrun, even if you have actively signposted them to an event. That said, many GPs and other practice staff have joined their patient at parkrun and found it incredibly beneficial, both for themselves and the patient.  


 


We suggest that any signposting is undertaken in a person-centred way and is shaped by the interests and needs of the patient themselves. It is likely that parkrun is one of a few opportunities that might be suggested to the patient, and this conversation could be done by any suitably skilled member of the practice staff. It might be that broaching the idea of parkrun doesn't happen straight away and is part of a process of understanding the patient, developing rapport and gauging their receptiveness to certain messages and suggestions. This video shows two contrasting approaches, highlighting a person-centred style.      

         

It would be great if participation at parkrun is couched in terms that really resonate with the individual. This might include emphasis on the wide variety of ways that a person can take part (walk, run, volunteer, come and watch), the fact that there is no obligation to complete all of the 5k distance or to attend every week, and the wide-ranging benefits such as socialisation, skill development, relaxation, confidence and self-esteem, physical health and integration within a local community.     

Please reach out to our parkrun Health and Wellbeing Ambassadors to ask about their experience with patients here.



 


No, you do not need to write a physical prescription when signposting to parkrun. However, we have created a card whereby you can write the information of the parkrun website link or name of the local event.


Great idea. That would be wonderful, and you will be following in the footsteps of other GP practices who have done just that!  Please email the parkrun team to get the ball rolling.                  

One GP practice did start their own parkrun, with the doctors and the receptionist teaming up to bring an event to their local community. This short film tells their story.



Liability and insurance

Whilst it is a professional obligation amongst health care staff to balance risk and benefit, mentioning parkrun to a patient constitutes an informal suggestion rather than a formal referral. It is also worth noting that the Australian Government and Australian CMOs recommend physical activity in the treatment and management of long-term conditions. Please refer to the Physical activity and exercise guidelines for all Australians here. See, also, the Moving Medicine consensus statement around risk that has been peer reviewed and published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine (please note: this is a British peer-reviewed article provided for information purposes only).

With regards insurance, GPs and Practice Nurses are covered by their own professional indemnity insurance. In addition, parkrun have insurance which provides public liability cover for people attending or impacted by parkrun events and in the unlikely event that an incident occurs where parkrun are found negligent and/or the cause of the incident. 

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