Parkruns are free, weekly, community running or walking events held in more than 20 countries around the world.
Rather than being billed as a “running race,“ Parkruns are considered “running events” or “runs” to showcase the fact that these community running events are come-one-come-all community running events rather than serious competitive running races.
Anyone is welcome to run, walk, volunteer, or spectate in the free, weekly Parkrun events.
Parkrun courses are designed to be as close to 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) as possible, though depending on the layout of the community park in which the Parkrun is held, there may be slight variability in the 5k Parkrun distance.
Despite the fact that there are no pace requirements for a Parkrun event, and many people participate on more of a social level than trying to hit a major 5k PR, the Parkrun organization still keeps track of Parkrun course records and Parkrun world records.
Recently, the long-standing 5k Parkrun world record was broken.
Scottish runner Andy Butchart ran a blazing 13:45 Parkrun finish time at the Silverknowes Parkrun in northwest Edinburgh, Scotland on June 24, 2023.
Andy Butchart’s new 5k Parkrun world record works out to 4:26 per mile pace or 2:45 per kilometer.
This is not only a fantastic time for any 5-kilometer race, but given the fact that Parkrun events are considered cross-country races because they take place on off-road terrain, Butchart’s speedy 5k finish time is even more impressive.
The Silverknowes Parkrun course in Edinburgh, Scotland is known to be generally flat and fast with relatively wide footpaths, though it is said to be exposed to the wind and therefore not necessarily the fastest park run course for hitting a PB (personal best).
Andy Butchart’s new Parkrun world record time finally dethroned previous Parkrun world record holder Andy Baddeley, who ran 13:48 at a London Parkrun event in August 2012.
Apparently, one UK runner named Andy passed the torch to another UK runner also Andy in this Parkrun world record progression.
Another reason that a Parkrun world record-setting performance is even more amazing and noteworthy is the fact that there are about 17,000 weekly Parkrun events worldwide, which means that every single week, there are thousands and thousands of runners potentially vying for an opportunity to break the Parkrun world record time.
Even Andy Baddeley, the previous Parkrun world record holder, became best known as the reigning Parkrun world record holder rather than acknowledged for some of his other stunning running performances such as his victory at the Dream Mile in Oslo in a time of 3:49.38.
If Andy Butchart’s new Parkrun world record time stands anywhere near as long as Andy Baddeley’s Parkrun record, his running legacy will likely follow the same path, meaning that most people will think of his Parkrun world record above his other running accomplishments and track performances.
That said, the 31-year-old Central AC runner from Scotland has certainly built an impressive running résumé today, including placing sixth at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio in the 5000m final, running a time of 13:08.61 on the track.
Andy Butchart also holds the Scottish 10,000-meter national record, with a time of 27:36.77.
Andy Butchart has also begun dabbling in longer distances.
His current half marathon PR is 62:58 and he reports that he hopes to run a full marathon in the coming years.
For reference, the current fastest Parkrun time by a woman in the UK is 15:31, a record set by Melissa Courtney-Bryant last Christmas in Poole.
The Parkrun website reports that the current average Parkrun time in the UK is 28:58. Because Park run events were started in the UK, the number of participants and events for Parkrun is highest in the UK.
As of 2020, the average Parkrun 5k finish time was 32:30, a significant increase from the average Parkrun 5k time of 22:17 in 2005.
This jump in over 10 minutes is indicative of the fact that Parkruns have continued to get more and more inclusive, with runners, joggers, and walkers of all ability levels and ages taking place in Parkruns around the world every week.
Interested runners, walkers, and volunteers can find their nearest Parkrun using the event map for their home country.
You can read more about Parkrun running events in our Parkrun guide here.