The benefits of the Parkrun initiative have been highlighted by a major study into the health and wellbeing benefits of participating in the free 5km events.
More than 90% of parkrunners report a sense of personal achievement and improvements in physical health, according to the study from Parkrun in partnership with Vhi.
Those who volunteer, as well as walk or run in the weekly, timed events, reported improvements to their happiness, with 88% feeling happier due to parkrun.
Meanwhile, 90% of those that reported experiencing depression said that participating in parkrun improved their ability to manage their health condition.
The detailed study involved more than 4,000 respondents who take part in the 93 weekly 5km adult parkrun events in Ireland.
Parkrun in partnership with Vhi is the biggest community-led physical activity movement in Ireland.
Undertaken by Sheffield Hallam University’s Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC), the research was commissioned to assess the health and wellbeing benefits of participating in the free, weekly, timed 5km events.
The research marks parkrun’s seventh anniversary in Ireland, and Vhi’s fourth year as presenting partner of parkrun Ireland.
90% of those surveyed reported improvements in feeling part of a community and meeting new people due to volunteering at parkrun, while 80% reported improvements in their ability to help people.
Commenting on the research Matt Shields, parkrun Ireland Country Manager said:
“The findings of this research validate our assumptions about the wide-ranging physical, emotional and social health benefits of participating in parkrun.
“Volunteering is an incredibly positive activity in its own right, with the greatest health and wellbeing gains being seen by the thousands of people who volunteer at parkrun. Parkrun has grown from strength to strength in Ireland."
Parkun takes place in locations across Cork including The Glen, Glengarriff, Castlehaven, Clonakilty, Mallow, Ballincollig, Bere Island and more.