International parkrunday: Celebrate its 12th birthday with one of these


Parkrun is marking its 12th birthday this weekend, with thousands of people expected to take part in events across the North East.

Saturday is International parkrunday - marking the founding of the series of free, timed 5k runs designed to get people out running in their community - bringing with it health, fitness, wellbeing and social benefits.

The first event took place on October 2 2004 in the London Borough of Richmond, and today is spread across 14 countries with almost 1,000 events every week.

Parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt, said: "The (first) event was Bushy parkrun in Teddington, and there were 13 runners and four volunteers – we call these people ‘pioneers’. My, haven’t we come a long way!

"We have now achieved more than 1,000 years of running and it won’t be long before we welcome our two millionth runner. Over 18 million runs have been supported by 214,886 volunteers. Nobody could have predicted the impact of parkrun on the world. And this is just the beginning."

Paul said the past 12 years had been "interesting, exciting and daunting" - and more was still to come.

"We’ve added 2k junior parkruns to the UK and Ireland families and we’ve established great relationships with our partners," he said.

North East venues where you can take part in parkrun on International parkrunday - they all start at 9am:

Albert Park, Middlesbrough

Blackhill, Blackhill and Consett Heritage Park, Laburnum Avenue, Blackhill, Consett

Darlington South Park

Druridge Bay, Druridge Bay Country Park

Durham, Graham Sports Centre, Maiden Castle, Stockton Road

Gateshead, Saltwell Park

Gibside, National Trust property near Rowlands Gill

Hackworth Park, Shildon

Hartlepool, Maritime Avenue

Newcastle, Exhibition Park

Redcar, Locke Park

Rising Sun Country Park, Whitley Road, Benton

Riverside Park, Chester-le-Street

Sedgefield, Hardwick Park

South Shields, The Leas

Stewart Park, Middlesbrough

Sunderland, Silksworth Sports Complex, Sunderland

Tees Barrage, International White Water Centre

Whitley Bay, Links Common (adjacent to the bottom of Monkseaton Drive

You can get more information, find junior events, and learn how to start your our parkrun at