Support parkrun to make Acknowledgement of Country compulsory at all events across Aust

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Every Saturday morning at 8am, in 380 beautiful locations across Australia, thousands of runners and walkers enjoy parkrun. 

Laura Thompson (from Spark Health) attended a parkrun event, on New Years Day 2020, the Run Director acknowledged both the Local Council and Parks Victoria for "allowing them to use their land" with no mention of Traditional Owners. This left her feeling sad and dismayed and no longer wanting to participate in this event. This experience has driven Spark Health to start this petition to ensure Acknowledgement of Country is compulsory and conducted at the beginning of all parkruns in Australia.

For your information, as part of the pre-event parkrun briefing it is not compulsory for parkrun volunteers to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land. That being said, many parkruns opt to do an Acknowledgment of Country to begin the parkrun, which is great. But, we are calling on this important protocol not to be an optional addition, but instead an integral and compulsory part of every parkrun brief, every week, in every location in Australia, without exception.

If parkrun can acknowledge sponsors every week, surely parkrun can acknowledge the Traditional Custodians. It's respectful protocol to include and it will improve local social connection, networks and reconciliation outcomes in the local communities.

Why Acknowledging Country is important?

Taking the time to acknowledge Aboriginal Traditional Custodians and Country at parkrun events is a small thing to do but, is one way we can help reduce the barriers for participation and to be more inclusive at events. It recognises the place of Indigenous people as the first custodians of this land and, importantly, promotes awareness of the history and culture of Aboriginal people locally. This increased awareness will help us create a more united Australia, that embraces our history and celebrates Indigenous culture.

Why we love parkrun?

The team at Spark Health love the parkrun movement and staff have been involved in the sponsorship and startup of three parkruns in Victoria (Lalor, Darebin and Echuca) which has resulted in an increase of Indigenous participation in these events. 

There are many other ways we can make parkrun a more welcoming  space for local Indigenous people but at the minimum, let's make sure we acknowledge Country at every event in Australia, every week.