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Table 1 Overview of the PROVE project outreach activities

From: Engaging people with long-term health conditions in a community-based physical activity initiative: a qualitative follow-up study evaluating the parkrun PROVE project

PROVE project activity

Description of the activity


Identifying the health condition groups

Health condition groups were identified by the PROVE Project Manager on a convenience basis, based on need and demand

The PROVE project targeted 13 health condition groups: Asthma; Blood pressure; Cardiovascular; Deaf and hard of hearing; Dementia; Diabetes; Endometriosis; Learning disabilities and/or autism; Obesity; Arthritis and musculoskeletal; Multiple Sclerosis; Cerebral Palsy; Mental Health

Appointing and managing Outreach Ambassadors

The PROVE project was led by the Project Manager who oversaw a volunteer network of Outreach Ambassadors. Applicants underwent an interview prior to being appointed as Outreach Ambassadors. Outreach Ambassadors were appointed to design and implement outreach activities targeted at those living with health conditions

35 Outreach Ambassadors were appointed which included 1–6 Outreach Ambassadors for each health condition group

Accessibility guidelines for parkrun event teams

Outreach Ambassadors wrote accessibility guidelines for parkrun event teams to raise awareness about the health conditions being targeted

20 Accessibility Guidelines were written and published on a Wiki web page used by parkrun event organisers

Facebook groups

Facebook groups were set up as an open forum for discussion and social supported related to parkrun. Groups were overseen by Outreach Ambassadors who monitored the content and prompted conversation

12 Facebook groups were established representing all condition groups except Cerebral Palsy (due to it being one of the latter conditions to be targeted in PROVE). These Facebook groups collectively had 5,907 members. The group with the highest membership was asthma with 2,153 members

Blog articles

Outreach Ambassadors published blogs covering stories of parkrun participants living with health conditions. Blog articles were published on the parkrun website and shared in weekly parkrun newsletters

42 blog articles were published over the course of the PROVE project, resulting in around ~ 70,000 hits (clicks/hits), according to parkrun data insights

Engaging with charities and/or advocacy groups

The Outreach Ambassadors reached out to advocacy groups (e.g., charities) related to their health condition with information about parkrun and the PROVE project in attempt to reach wider audiences

Evidence from the PROVE Project Manager suggested that Outreach Ambassadors engaged with at least 30 different advocacy groups over the course of the PROVE project. Examples of engagement included presentations at the Diabetes UK Professional Conference 2018 and a national GP social prescribing conference, podcast interviews and newspaper articles

Promotional materials / resources

Where a need was identified, Outreach Ambassadors developed publicity/promotional materials for use by parkrun and the Facebook groups

Easy read guides were produced by the Outreach Ambassador for learning disabilities and/or autism:

A promotional video was produced by the Outreach Ambassador for asthma: These were shared via social media

Adaptations to parkrun events

Outreach Ambassadors identified barriers to participation in parkrun events that might be experienced or perceived by people with health conditions and suggested simple changes that would address any barriers

Outreach Ambassadors for the deaf and hard of hearing group identified that the pre-event announcements were inaccessible to some people with hearing impairments. In response, parkrun introduced a "Sign Language Support" volunteer role responsible for communicating the pre-parkrun briefing in British Sign Language. Data insights showed that this role was undertaken 1,129 times in the UK since it was introduced in April 2017 at 137 parkrun venues

Strava club groups

Strava is a mobile App and website for runners/walkers to connect to each other. Outreach Ambassadors created Strava 'Clubs' for the health condition they represented. This was a social support platform for parkrun participants with health conditions to log activities, connect and support each other

11 Strava groups were established, attracting over 800 members

Volunteer takeover events

Outreach Ambassadors organised volunteer takeover events. Volunteer takeover events are when a local club, organisation or group undertake the majority of volunteer roles at one parkrun event. The aim was to raise awareness amongst the parkrun community of parkrun participants with health conditions, and promote the value of volunteering as a means to enhance health and wellbeing

Around 27 volunteer takeover events—with a focus on different health conditions—took place across England over the course of the PROVE project

  1. *All reported numbers correct as of the end of the evaluation period in March 2019