In this episode, Tom Williams, the Global Chief Operating Officer of Parkrun, shares insights into both Parkrun and his popular podcast, Marathon Talk. Tom talks about the genesis of Marathon Talk, stressing the importance of authenticity for both himself and co-host Martin Yelling. Despite identifying as an introvert, Tom shares how he’s more comfortable speaking to large crowds than navigating smaller social settings.
The conversation moves to Parkrun, which Tom describes as a “social intervention for a lonely bloke.” The initiative was originally set up to help its founder, Paul, combat loneliness, emphasizing that Parkrun is more about community and shared experience than running itself.
Tom touches on his personal journey to Ironman qualification and discusses the pitfalls of being too focused on measurable outcomes in sports, emphasizing the need to stay connected to the underlying values and the essence of the sport.
Highlighting Parkrun’s significant impact, Tom sets an ambitious future goal for the initiative: to go from 60 million instances of participation in its first 15 years to 900 million in the next 15.
Tom’s conversation is inspiring and relatable, echoing the idea that every significant project starts small. Whether it’s a worldwide fitness movement like Parkrun or a highly successful podcast like Marathon Talk, everything starts at zero.
How did Marathon Talk podcast come to fruition?
Being authentic on the podcast for both Martin and Tom
Introversion, lack of structure and a small group of people can be difficult however standing up in from of 500 people can feel fantastic. The barrier between
The beauty of running and talking
What has Tom learnt from running the Marathon Talk podcast
Tom’s observation of the increasing uptake of marathon running
Parkrun – a social intervention for a lonely bloke!!
Paul was lacking in real social interaction and to all intents and purposes lonely despite having loads of ‘friends’ the original ‘Parkrun’ was set up to rectify this situation with friends.
Parkrun isn’t about the running, it’s about sharing the experience
The danger of focussing on outcomes rather than our values, what is the essence of sport what it the essence of performance?
60 million instances in participation in the first 15 years
The future of Parkrun – 900 million instance in participation in the next 15 years
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