Understanding the parkrun community: sacred Saturdays and organic solidarity of parkrunners

James Bowness*, Emmanuelle Tulle, John McKendrick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
172 Downloads (Pure)


This article focuses on parkrun, the multi-site weekly timed 5km run, which operates around the world. Using Durkheim’s work on community, we use qualitative data from a survey of over 8000 parkrunners to make sense of the parkrun community. We argue that parkrun allows for an organic solidarity that celebrates the various moral rationales for participation. We suggest that this organic solidarity produces a collective effervescence that enables parkrunners to think of themselves as part of something bigger than their sporting/health projects. Following Durkheim’s ambivalence, we argue that parkrun’s collective effervescence may be a double-edged sword. It may make a novel impact on public health by facilitating an increase in physical activity levels amongst previously inactive indviduals, yet it may also reinforce the exclusion of those who perceive themselves to be outsiders to the parkrun community.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-63
Number of pages20
JournalEuropean Journal for Sport and Society
Issue number1
Early online date10 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • parkrun
  • Durkheim
  • community
  • running
  • collective effervesence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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