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If you're a regular Parkrunner you'll know that it's a free and friendly event at many locations in England and Wales at 9am on Saturday mornings (9.30am in Scotland) - but did you know there's a new Parkrun at The Eden Project?
As Parkrun is based on the ethos that everyone should be able to participate, it's always free - which means if you run your Parkrun at Eden you'll be able to enjoy the facilities including the café and biomes after getting in your 5k morning run.
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There are hundreds of local council-funded outdoor gyms that are free-to-use all year round. See our FREE outdoor gyms Deals Hunters blog for full information and how to find your nearest, and see MSE Oli's video below:
If you go online to free physical activity provider Parkrun you can sign up to take part in completely free weekly timed 5K runs at selected parks (find your nearest) across the country, usually at 9am on Saturday mornings.
You don’t need to be Mo Farah to participate, Parkrun welcomes all abilities. You don't even have to run, you can walk if you prefer and kids and dogs are also welcome. Once you’re registered you’ll be allocated a barcode which you’ll need to print out and bring with you to the park as this will be scanned to give you an accurate 5K time.
What is Parkrun?
Parkrun has been running (pardon the pun) since Oct 2004 with funding from sponsors. It currently has more than two million registered runners and volunteers and operates free weekly runs in 850+ parks worldwide.
Junior Parkrun for 4-14-yr-olds
Junior Parkrun is similar, and often at the same locations as the regular Parkrun (which children are also welcome to run), but is 2K long instead of 5K and held at 9am on Sundays instead of Saturdays. Children aged between four and 14 years old can participate.
How do I get a 'free' T-shirt?
On your 50th official timed run (as an adult), you can claim a 'free' Club 50 T-shirt (you'll pay £1.99 postage, see full T&Cs).
If you're aged 17 and under, you can claim a 'free' Club 10 T-shirt after your 10th official timed run.
If you don't want to run or prefer to volunteer, you can get a 'free' volunteer's T-shirt after volunteering on 25 separate occasions.
If you go online to free fitness initiative ParkLives, you can sign up for completely free exercise classes for adults and children held in more than 130 outdoor locations across Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle, Newham in London and Nottingham (find your nearest park).
If you live in London or Bedfordshire, see Our Parks free fitness classes.
There are 69 different classes to choose from, including yoga, pilates, Zumba, bootcamp, family rounders & baby ballet (see ‘more info’ for all classes included). Classes like this would normally cost £5-£10ish, but it's worth bearing in mind that all ParkLives sessions are outdoors - so if you fancy taking part, during the summer is your best bet.
What is ParkLives?
ParkLives is a partnership programme funded by local authorities and Coca-Cola Great Britain, that runs 260 hour-long fitness classes per week in playing fields and some other venues across England & Scotland. It currently has about 10,000 users and has funding to run until 2020.
How to book
- Join ParkLives by filling in a few details on its website, including your email address, postcode and local council (you can leave the boxes at the bottom of the page unticked if you don't want to be sent marketing from your local council or Coca-Cola).
- Browse available classes in the list of upcoming sessions.
- Reserve a place by selecting 'save me a spot'. Classes can be booked up to two months in advance and you can book as many as you like. ParkLives told us that some classes have started to build a regular following, so it'd be worth checking the website in advance if you've got a particular session in mind.
Under-13s must be signed up and accompanied by a parent. All session leaders are qualified professionals employed by the council, so should be DBS checked.
Adult come and try tennis
Baby loves disco
Conservation and down to earth
Couch to 5km
Exercise to music
Family frisbee golf
Family fun fishing
Family fun fitness
Family fun golf
Flexibility & wellness (over-16s)
Gentle bootcamp (over-50s)
Green fit baby
Green flag walk
Kids & teenage giant twister
Kids & teenage sports day
Led walking group
Play in the park
Walk to run
Women & girls' Zumba
Women only bootcamp
If you go online to free fitness initiative Our Parks, you can sign up for completely free exercise classes for adults and children held in more than 50 locations across London and Bedfordshire (see ‘more info’ the full list of boroughs).
There are 28 different classes to choose from, including yoga, pilates, Zumba, bootcamp, dance, tots tennis and kids' fitness (see ‘more info’ for all classes included). It provides free group exercise classes mostly in parks, but also in community centres and libraries during winter.
Classes like this would normally cost £5-£10ish, but it's worth noting that some of the calmer classes in particular, would normally be indoors.
What is Our Parks?
Our Parks has been running since March 2014 with funding from local councils. It currently has more than 20,000 users and offers around 160 hour-long classes per week.
How to book
- Join Our Parks by completing a short registration form online (you'll need to give a contact email address and fill out a health questionnaire).
- Subscribe to one or more boroughs near you.
- Browse and book classes. Classes can be booked online up to two weeks in advance and you can book as many as you like.
- Sign in with your instructor at the start of each class.
Under-16s must be accompanied by an adult. Our Parks says all trainers are fully qualified and all coaches who work with children or vulnerable adults are DBS checked.
Abs, bums & thighs
Hula hoop fitness
Our circuit with box fit
Boroughs and other locations included:
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Hammersmith & Fulham
Baking & Dagenham
City of Westminster
University of Roehampton
University of Warwick