Why Are Women Reluctant to Run? – Experiences of parkrun
“It’s for everybody and anybody, it’s meant to be inclusive.”
43% of 120,000 parkrunners are female, yet they are more likely to be classified as ‘reluctant runners’ than men.
Through a series of interviews and focus groups with parkrun volunteers and participants this case study sheds light on the motivations and barriers women face in taking part in parkrun on a regular basis.
- Barriers and motivations to participation.
- Interview excerpts.
- Six suggested interventions.
- The most positive aspects of parkrun are the friendly atmosphere and positive encouragement from volunteers and spectators.
- There is concern parkrun is cliquey and first timers can find this intimidating.
- The 5km distance is positioned as being for beginners, but some women find this distance challenging.
- Timed runs suggest parkrun is competitive and this is off-putting for some beginners.
- The practical elements of parkrun including logistics are unclear.
- It’s too easy not to turn up.
To encourage women to ‘tip’ into action and experience the benefits of parkrun, the following six interventions were identified:
- Targeted reminder communications.
- Targeted social media.
- First timer information.
- First timer briefing.
- Video content.
- Align to women’s values.
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