Paul Sinton Hewitt, CBE
Paul Sinton-Hewitt CBE is founder of the international organisation parkrun. Paul’s contribution to the world of running came about through his own love of the sport – after an injury prevented him from running, he began an informal 5k run around his local park one Saturday morning in 2004, inviting a few friends to join him. The format of a free weekly 9am, 5k timed run quickly gathered speed, and by the following year another nearby London park had established a parkrun of their own. Today there are parkruns in over 400 locations in the UK, and parkruns operating in the United States, Poland, Russia, South Africa, New Zealand, Italy, Ireland, Australia, Denmark and France. Over a million people take part in this uniquely accessible and social run, which has opened the possibility of exercise, fitness, and athletic improvement to all ages. Junior parkruns, a 2km run for ages 4-14 have begun operating alongside some of the 5ks, encouraging those who are just starting to run to find their feet.
Having already been declared by Runners World magazine to be one of their ‘Heroes of Running’, last year Paul was awarded the CBE by Queen Elizabeth II for services to grassroots sports participation.
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Follow Paul on Twitter @paulsintonhewit.
“I decided to not take into account all of the obstacles that were there and just get this event running.”
“It was something I wanted to do primarily for myself. Selfish motives. But also because I thought it was time for me to give something back to the running community.”
“…that was the moment when we realised we have something here that is repeatable, it’s easily shaped and it can expand.”
“Everybody who you think we would be assisting came out and said ‘you are breaking our model, you are making it very difficult for us to earn a crust’.”
“We are the kindergarten of the formal running organisation, athletics. We don’t profess to be anything more than that.”
“…we have less loneliness, we have people who are fitter, who are healthier and that’s really what this is about.”
“Parkrun is a very passionate movement. We have hundreds of thousands of people who volunteer every single week.”
“We didn’t anticipate the exposure that we got. We couldn’t afford to pay for that exposure but it has been absolutely brilliant, beautiful and wonderful.”