The parkrun events have expanded exponentially over the past decade since it was ‘a time trial’ (parkrun.org.uk). Every Saturday 9 am sharp (in England and Wales, start time may vary in other countries) hundreds of runners gather in local parks to join a 5k running event organised by local volunteers (and 2k run on Sunday 9am for children aged 4-15). Through running, volunteering, organising the events, participants have been generating a vast amount of data. The organisation parkrun has become a data institution.
This paper discusses the parkrun data practices (core and peripheral) and data cultures and how that shapes a family’s routines and relationship. Based on autoethnography and content analysis of social media data on Facebook and Twitter, this paper shows that parkrun, the weekly 5k run on a Saturday morning and the weekly 2k junior run on a Sunday morning across the UK, has had impacts on shaping a family’s routines and subsequently changed the relationships between family members (parents and children, between partners). This paper identifies the visible and invisible data practices and different types of labour. Through examining the data practices and labour, this paper observes positive changes in a family as well as some discontinuities or frictions (for example, which parent can afford to do the running in a family with young children). Sociological concepts such as temporality, (in)visibility, and labour (emotional labour, unpaid labour) will be employed to critically examine the parkrun phenomenon and its impacts on families in the UK.