parkrun Sicily

Introducing parkrun Sicily: An interview with Paul Sinton-Hewitt CBE

In October 2004, Bushy Park, West London, Paul Sinton-Hewitt CBE started a phenomenon which would bring communities together and help improve the health and wellbeing of people around the world.  

At the time, there were just 13 runners who joined Paul in running 5km around the park. 14 years later and the parkrun family has expanded. There are now approximately 250,000 weekly parkrunners taking part in 1,300 runs across 19 different countries.

Using our travel expertise, we are launching parkrun Tourism where you can go on a specially designed Exodus holiday, which includes a parkrun overseas.  

parkrun Sicily

We're excited to announce that our first parkrun Tourism holiday will be in Sicily!  Not only will you get to explore this beautiful Mediterranean island, but you can also join two parkruns – Etna parkrun in the shadows of the famous volcano and Favorita parkrun in gorgeous Palermo.  On our very first departure on the 1st June 2018, you will be joined by Paul Sinton-Hewitt himself.

To mark the start of parkrun Tourism, we asked Paul a few questions about our two loves – travelling and running!


What excites you the most about the parkrun's growth abroad?
The most exciting aspect of parkrun spreading its footprint is that more and more people are experiencing the health and wellbeing benefits that come from being physically active, volunteering and socialising in wonderful open spaces. parkrun truly makes the world feel smaller.

Are there any parkruns in the world that you haven’t been to that you would like to run?
There are some very exciting new events in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Italy, not to mention the many Australian and South African events that feel so far away from home. It's a given that I would like to participate at every parkrun venue in the world, but it's simply impossible for anyone to achieve that because of our rapid expansion.

Do you have a favourite parkrun overseas and a moment you remember from it?
Naturally I’m not allowed to have a favourite parkrun! However, parkrunning in some of the most beautiful places in the world have a way of sticking in your mind. For example, Nkomazi parkrun that lies on the border of South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique, and Crissy Fields parkrun in San Francisco that takes place in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge come to mind. Both events have lasting memories for me.

Were overseas parkruns something you could imagine when you first started Bushy?
Expanding parkrun out of Bushy Park was never part of the original plan, but after we launched our first international parkrun in Denmark in 2009 it became clear that we could offer parkruns in communities around the world. Our aim is to create a healthier and happier planet, and the fact that we will soon have 1,400 parkruns across 20 countries shows that we are going in the right direction. I would love to see a parkrun in every town in the world within my lifetime, and wouldn’t it be great to have a parkrun in outer space too. There are astronauts who have run the London Marathon, so why not run parkrun every week too? Our aim is to create a healthier and happier planet and we will continue to support people all over the world to bring parkrun to their communities.

Why should parkrunners book on the ‘parkrun Sicily’ trip?
The parkrun Sicily trip will be a unique way to combine a trip of a lifetime with two parkruns, all in the company of like-minded people.  Both parkrun and Exodus Travels are based around the notion of community, by bringing people of all backgrounds together to share in a joyful and positive experience. Furthermore, Exodus’ commitment to responsible tourism by engaging with local communities directly is something that we strongly support.

If you’re interested in joining this parkrun Sicily trip you can register your interest here.

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