My first park run — how did I not know about it earlier?

2 min readMar 19, 2023


This weekend, I participated in my first park run (Zuiderpark, The Hague, NL), and I was blown away by how much fun it was. It made me wonder why I had never heard of it before.
Park runs are free, timed 5k runs that take place in parks all over the world. They promote community, fitness, and mental well-being. The runs are organized entirely by volunteers and are a fantastic way to meet new people and get active.

It all started in 2004 in Bushy Park, London; from there, it became a worldwide phenomenon. The UK has 100s — if not 1000s — weekly park run events. I think there is no park in London that does not host a park run every weekend.

Park runs in the UK and Ireland

The Experience

The atmosphere was incredible; everyone was so supportive and cheering each other on. This time, it was a special event since it was also National Cleanup Day in the Netherlands. So, who would be a better special guest than Paul Waye? Paul is one of the pioneers of plogging — I think he did it even before the word plogging was invented. Check out his YouTube channel to learn more about him:

Paul Waye, in his banana outfit, explaining concepts of plogging

What is plogging, though, you may ask

“Plogging is a combination of jogging with picking up litter (merging the Swedish verbs plocka upp (pick up) and jogga (jog) gives the new Swedish verb plogga, from which the word plogging derives)” (Wikipedia)

This meant that everyone was free to volunteer, pick up a trash bag and a pair of security gloves and pick up as much trash on the 5k loop as possible.

Weekly Park Run — Yay!

I can’t believe discovering park runs took me so long. I am looking forward to the next park run(s).




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