Predictors of successful return to parkrun for first-time adult participants in Scotland



Gilburn AS (2023) Predictors of successful return to parkrun for first-time adult participants in Scotland. Atulomah NO (Editor) PLOS Global Public Health, 3 (8), Art. No.: e0001786.

Physical activity is essential for promoting good health and reducing burdens on healthcare systems. parkrun organise free weekly events where participants complete a 5km route. Studies have identified characteristics of participants associated with lower levels of participation. The aim of the study was to identify predictors of the likelihood of returning to parkrun for first-time adult participants. The return rate of adult first-time participants was determined for all 5km parkrun events in Scotland over a 1-year period from February 2019. The dataset consisted of 20,191 adult participants made up of 11,459 females and 8,732 males across 58 venues. A General Linear Mixed Model was used to identify factors associated with return rate. Return rates were negatively correlated with event size and positively correlated with the proportion of first-time adult participants at the event. Age was positively correlated with return rate and males were more likely to return. New participants that finished in a relatively slow time were disproportionately less likely to return. Return rates were positively correlated with the amount of freshwater and woodland on the route. These findings provide potential opportunities to manage events to enhance their efficacy. Specific events could be promoted as first-timer days to encourage new participants to attend together. New events could be prioritised in proximity to events that currently experience high attendances to reduce attendances locally. As the presence of freshwater and woodland are associated with higher return these habitats could play a role in generating the benefits of green exercise. If so the creation of more routes running through or alongside these habitats could be beneficial. The findings are likely to be widely applicable to other mass participation events and those interesting in understanding the mechanism by which green exercise provides its benefits.

PLOS Global Public Health: Volume 3, Issue 8

Publication date31/08/2023
Publication date online31/08/2023
Date accepted by journal20/07/2023
PublisherPublic Library of Science (PLoS)

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Dr Andre Gilburn

Dr Andre Gilburn

Senior Lecturer, Biological and Environmental Sciences

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