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Wednesday 11 July 2018

Founder of parkrun, Paul Sinton-Hewitt CBE, has been awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Sport.

Founder of parkrun, Paul Sinton-Hewitt CBE, has been awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Sport by Solent University today (11 July 2018).

He said: "I’m absolutely delighted to be receiving this award. It’s such an honour to be part of the University and to be recognised in this way; and to share this with all our volunteers across the country – it’s their hard work that makes it possible for me to be here."

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, he invited a few friends to join him. The popularity of a free, weekly, timed, 5k run quickly gathered pace, becoming what we now know as parkrun. Parkrun also offer a junior programme for people aged 4-14 consisting of a 2km run.  

Today there are parkruns in over 1,300 locations around the world, with over 600 in the UK. Parkruns operate in the United States, Canada, Sweden, Poland, Russia, South Africa, New Zealand, Italy, Ireland, Australia, Denmark, Singapore, Norway and France. 

Over 2.3 million people have taken part in this uniquely accessible and social run, which has opened the possibility of wellbeing and social cohesion to all people regardless of ability or age.  

Paul's mission and that of parkrun is to make the world a healthier and happier place; achieved through the interventions of the thousands of volunteers at thousands of communities across the world. 

Having already been named by Runner's World magazine as one of their ‘Heroes of Running’, he was awarded the CBE by Queen Elizabeth II for services to grassroots sports participation in 2014.  

Paul has given guest lecturers and seminar sessions for students across the School of Sport, Health and Social Sciences at Solent.

Giving advice to students graduating today, he said: "I would advise all students to look inside their hearts and think about what they stand for and what their values are. And most importantly to apply those values to something they feel passionate about, to be very driven and to dedicate themselves to making the world a healthier and happier place – to changing the world!"