stirling parkrun

Stirling study finds key to parkrun engagement

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A University of Stirling study has found that first-time parkrun runners are more likely to participate again if they run near freshwater and woodland.

The study, by Dr. Andre Gilburn, also found that smaller events with many other new runners would encourage people to return.

Stirling hosts a parkrun on the university campus every Saturday. It is a 5km run, consisting of just over two laps of the Airthrey Loch.

Stirling university parkrun

The university’s parkrun can attract hundreds of runners, as the route is seemingly a perfect fit to encourage participants to return.

The community-organised events take place in many other locations across the UK, with there being 67 across Scotland currently.

Dr Gilburn, who is a regular participant in the Stirling run, said: “parkrun’s mission is to create a healthier and happier planet. They provide free weekly events that encourage physical activity in a friendly and social environment.

woman lacing up her gray and pink nike low top athletic shoe
Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on

“Understanding what factors determine whether a new participant returns to participate in parkrun again is essential to maximising its effectiveness in promoting good health to ultimately reduce burdens on healthcare systems.

“Identification of these features provides parkrun with additional information that could be used to manage their events to increase their effectiveness.”

Colin Sinclair, event director at Stirling’s parkrun, said: “We are privileged to use a route around the University of Stirling’s stunning campus, which takes in Airthrey Loch and local woodland.

“I have no doubt this location encourages new participants to join us and then return time after time. Our parkrun has also attracted visitors from all over the UK and across the world, including runners from as far away as Australia, the United States and South Africa.”

The University of Stirling parkrun begins at 9:30am every Saturday, at the boathouse opposite the Swimming Centre. More information can be found on their website.

Featured Image Credit: University of Stirling / parkrun

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News Editor 2023/24 at Brig Newspaper. Former Chief Sub-Editor 2022/23.
MSc International Journalism student at the University of Stirling.

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