parkruns are community-led, socially-focused physical activity events delivered with the aim of improving public health. They are not athletic or sporting competitions of the sort governed by national and international federations. This has implications for the categorisation of participants, and the adjudication of performances. Further, if there is a person or group who feel excluded from registering or participating, it is our ambition to minimise the barriers they face in order to facilitate participation for all.
In 2019 we reviewed the mandatory question and options on our registration form that related to gender, and at that time people were asked their gender and given a binary choice of either male or female.
Our considerations were not simply philosophical and practical (in terms of encouraging more people to participate in parkrun) but also legal, cultural and technological in nature given that any solution had to be appropriate across all the countries in which we operate now, and may do in future, as well as being technologically feasible.
After careful consideration and extensive consultation, we decided to continue categorising people based on gender rather than assigned sex. We feel this in-line with our ethos of non-competitive socially-focussed physical activity, and allows people to identify in the way they feel most appropriate and comfortable. In addition, we expanded the range of options that a person could choose from.
In all countries we operate in, parkrunners can now record their gender as male or female, or alternatively they are free to keep that information private by selecting “prefer not to say”.
Further, in the majority of parkrun countries we also offer a fourth option of “another gender identity”. Note: We have a duty of care to our communities and volunteers, and as such in a small number of countries this option is not available for legal, cultural and/or safeguarding reasons.
Gender options are available during registration and can also be subsequently changed through a parkrunner’s parkrun profile.
It is not appropriate or practical for us to request proof or adjudicate the validity of a person’s gender identity, just as we would and could not ask every single one of our 8 million registered participants to evidence other stated details, whether that be their name, age, postcode or activity level. Our position, therefore, is that we publish results based on a person’s self-declared information, including gender.
Should a participant select “prefer not to say” or “another gender identity”, their result displayed will not include information for gender, gender position, age category, or age grade, and we do not publicly display which of these two options a parkrunner has selected. This is to ensure that a level of privacy is maintained regarding whether someone has selected “another gender identity” or "prefer not to say”. Further, the parkrun Age Grade values are based on established, international proxy metrics, which are only available for male and female categories.
Should an existing parkrunner change their gender identity on their parkrun profile, their results history will remain unchanged, however going forward results will be presented as per their current gender. Should that person wish to backdate their change in gender (in total or from a specific date) they can do so by contacting us via our support page, and their historical results will be updated accordingly.
Course and age category records are based on self-declared gender and, as such, when a participant changes their recorded gender they will be eligible for the records associated with that gender. However, in some cases individuals themselves wish to be excluded from gender-based records and in that case they should contact parkrun directly via our support page, so that specific performances can be marked accordingly.
When claiming a milestone t-shirt via their profile, parkrunners are able to select either male or female style of t-shirt.
At parkrun we aim to be as inclusive and welcoming as possible, and whilst there are and possibly always will be issues around how we record and present people’s identities, we believe that our current solution is the most appropriate available at this time.