This profile was prepared when Paul Sinton-Hewitt was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2016.
Paul founded parkrun to both create an occasion for people to be physically active and connect them with their community. parkrun events are free, open and volunteer-led runs, taking place every Saturday of the year in 12 countries around the world. Starting as a tiny community of runners in London in 2004, today parkrun brings together 140,000 runners and 10,000 volunteers every single Saturday, encouraging communities around the world to be healthy and active. Despite the prevalence of gyms and a recognized value of exercise, public health concerns on issues such as diabetes, obesity, and mental health associated with modern lifestyles continue to rise. Paul founded parkrun to break down these barriers encouraging participants from outside traditional athletic groups, to simply get outdoors and move. At the same time, parkrun recognizes volunteering as a form of activity and hence redefines what it means to be active. With global reach and ambition, from New Zealand to Poland, parkrun aims to enable every community in the world to set up a parkrun and get its citizens active, healthy and connected.
The New Idea