The parkrun practice - an investigation into uptake, engagement and delivery

Talk Code: 
Joanna Fleming
Professor Jeremy Dale, Dr Carol Bryce
Author institutions: 
University of Warwick


Promoting physical activity in GP practices can be successful in getting inactive people to be active. However, many exercise referral schemes take place in leisure centres and last 10-12 weeks, therefore not helping to make long term changes. Parkrun is a series of free, weekly 5km events, in areas of open space. It is open to all, including those who are inactive or have health conditions or disabilities. In June 2018, there was a joint collaboration between the RCGP and parkrun, in the promotion of GP practices linking with their local parkrun to become a parkrun practice and promoting parkrun through the appropriate channels. While over 660 practices have registered, it is in its early stages with many unknowns. This study aims to investigate uptake, engagement and delivery of the parkrun practice, exploring motivations and expectations of registered practices and reasons for non-uptake among non-registered practices. In doing so, it aims to help us understand the ways in which the initiative is being implemented and how it may be further enhanced.  


This study will use both quantitative and qualitative methods. The lead for each registered parkrun practice will be asked to fill in an online survey. It will ask questions about the respondent’s role, local parkrun details, the processes involved in becoming a parkrun practice, activities being carried out, and how and why patients have been signposted. Descriptive statistics will be presented for all sections of the survey. We will carry out 12 semi-structured interviews with a GP / lead person (6 x parkrun practice; 6 x non-registered practice close to parkrun venue) and 2 focus groups with parkrun practice teams. We will also carry out 3 interviews with key stakeholders. All interview transcripts will be subject to thematic analysis, identifying and mapping key themes relevant to the research questions, with the addition of emergent themes. Analysis will use a modified grounded theory method, whereby an inductive and deductive approach will be used.


We are awaiting ethical approval and will start data collection in March 2019. Data collection will take place March-May, with data analysis taking place May-July. By July we anticipate having full findings and conclusions to report.


The findings will help us understand the ways in which the initiative is being implemented, and how it can be further enhanced. With many different potential models of delivery, this study will give us a clearer idea of why practices are choosing to register or not, how they are delivering the initiative and what effect this might be having on the type and number of patients they are signposting. The results will also feed directly into development of a larger grant application exploring in more detail the impact of different models of delivery and patient health and wellbeing.

Submitted by: 
Joanna Fleming
Funding acknowledgement: