On Saturday 19 August, The National Lottery, UK Sport and parkrun UK are inviting the nation to join Britain’s top athletes at #teamparkrun events across the UK.

To celebrate the public’s support of elite and community sport through playing The National Lottery, the nation’s sporting heroes will take to parkrun events across the UK to volunteer and inspire the nation to get active.

#teamparkrun will also be backed by Sport England, sportscotland, Sport Wales, Sport Northern Ireland, the British Olympic Association and British Paralympic Association, as well as a host of national governing bodies, and follows on from the success of I am Team GB last year, which inspired nearly 1 million people to take part in the nation’s biggest ever sports day. I Am Team GB celebrated the success of Britain’s athletes at the Rio 2016 Games and the role the nation played through the support they give elite athletes by playing The National Lottery.

On 19 August 2017, following the IPC and IAAF World Athletics Championships, hosted in the iconic London Stadium which was the epicentre of the London 2012 Games, National Lottery-funded athletes from across various Olympic and Paralympic sports will take to parks across the UK to act as volunteer Tail Walkers, who ensure that no one ever finishes last at a parkrun event.

National Lottery players have been backing Britain’s record-breaking Olympic and Paralympic athletes for 21 years this year, and to say ‘thank you’ to all these players, athletes will be taking up the role as Tail Walkers to get right behind the nation as they try parkrun for the very first time – either walking, jogging, running or volunteering themselves – with a view to starting their journey to a more healthy, active lifestyle.

Over 630 parkruns (5k) and junior parkruns (2k) take place every weekend across the UK, and are a free, sociable and highly accessible way for everyone to take their first steps towards a more active lifestyle, whether they choose to walk, jog, run or volunteer the first time they go along.

Dame Katherine Grainger, five time Olympic medallist and the newly appointed Chair of UK Sport, said: “The nation, and specially National Lottery players, have been backing us as athletes for 21 years now and none of us would be where we are today without their support.

“While sport and activity are integral to our lifestyles, we know that for some people taking up activity for the first time can be a scary prospect. parkrun offers a free, friendly and welcoming way to start, and our athletes will be there on August 19 to make any newcomers feel extra welcome.

“If you’ve been thinking about getting active, join #teamparkrun on August 19; you’ve been right behind us for so long and now your athletes will be right behind you!”

Nick Pearson, Chief Executive of parkrun, said: “One of the most common reasons that people register with parkrun but don’t go on to take part is because they don’t feel capable of running 5k. This initiative, which will see GB athletes supporting parkrunners, will reinforce the message that not only do we encourage walkers at parkrun, but that all of our events have volunteer Tail Walkers who provide support along the course.”

Arabella Gilchrist, Head of The National Lottery Brand, said: “#teamparkrun offers a brilliant way of celebrating the support the public gives British sport by playing The National Lottery.

“No one does more to contribute to elite athletes or community sports projects than our players. #teamparkrun will thank our players by connecting our Lottery-funded athletes with their local parkrun to inspire everyone, no matter what their level of fitness, to get active. We hope to see plenty of first-time parkrunners, joining their sporting heroes at their local event.”