Learning from a Saturday morning game changer

Time for review and reflection

The Leap team recently hopped across the border to Hertfordshire for our annual team away day. Valuable time away from the day to day workings of the organisation, these away days provide us with the opportunity to both reflect on the last year and look at how we can continue to improve moving forwards.

Always keen to learn from others excelling in the industry, we were joined for part of the day by parkrun CEO Nick Pearson. parkrun has changed the Saturday morning routines of millions of people. 1.7 million people in the UK, and 3.1 million people worldwide have woken up on a Saturday morning and taken part in a free weekly timed run. The numbers are powerful in themselves (you can find out more about parkrun here) however what is truly impressive is that every event, each of the 234,000 worldwide, are run by volunteers.  In a landscape where we are being challenged to do more with less, we were keen to gain Nick’s insight and see how we could apply some of his pearls of wisdom to our work.

Leap team on away day pictured with Nick Pearson (second left)

Leap team on away day pictured with Nick Pearson (second left)

Necessity creates ingenious solutions

Nick shared his journey from retail assistant to Managing Director at running retailer Sweatshop before stepping into the parkrun role. Nick was brought into parkrun to support growth, particularly its commercial relationships, whilst still maintaining the community feel that has built since parkrun’s launch in 2004.

We were fascinated to hear first hand how parkrun had grown quite organically, with the key aspect which kept the parkrun team on track a single-mindedness that they had an effective offer, coupled with the passion of the initial founders.

The journey for parkrun hasn’t always run smoothly however, with financial sustainability an ongoing challenge. Although the events are run by volunteers on the ground, central staff are needed to co-ordinate the technology which allows automated timing and the set up of new events amongst other aspects.

Nick’s viewpoint, is that although challenging, necessity creates ingenious solutions and this view of frugality encourages everyone in an organisation to do more with less.


We finished the day off with a walking meeting, despite advocating building activity into the working day, we’ve only tried walking meetings a handful of times. However each time we do, it shows us how moving more and getting our blood pumping contributes to creative thinking and builds us as a team. We’re looking forward to implementing some of the things we learnt and discussed on our away day over the coming year.

Leap team walking meeting Views around the Ashridge estate