Guide on how to enter the 2020 small park BIG RUN

June 20-21, at a physically distanced venue of your choice!


As you will probably know our normal 24-hour event in Meersbrook Park cannot take place. In its place we have come up with a Covid19 proof event. We are asking you to design and conduct your own activities in the safety of your own home, garden or suitably socially distanced outdoor area. We will all share our activities on social media. See ideas below.

This is an event that we will be doing physical distant from one another – but hopefully in doing it we can come together socially!


  1. Sign up! 
    Please Enter the event via the Eventbrite link – we are asking for you to pay what you can and/or make a donation to the projects in Palestine. We also are encouraging participants to buy Palestine Flags and our Keffiyeh buffs to display and wear whilst you do your activity – you can buy them when you sign up or contact us. Buffs are £3.50 each and Flags are £5.00 each.
  2. Plan your activity – To inspire you we have posted activities we know of below. But be as creative as you want; hop, paint, run, juggle, do yoga, play games, tap dance, play a tune, sing a song. It can be as long or as short as you want. You can include who you want. Do it at midnight, over 24 hours, over a week; whatever!
  3. Do your activity – The event was scheduled for 20-21 June – we would like you to hold your activity over that weekend if possible, but any time is absolutely fine! Don’t forget to wear your buffs and display those flags!
  4. Share your activity – Using your social media channels share the story, videos and pictures of your event with the spBR Community in the UK, Palestine and beyond. Wherever you post please tag us using @smallparkbigrun and #spbr20 Alternatively, you can email your details to us. If you have bought flags and/or buffs please show them off!
  5. Join the virtual global gathering at midday Sunday 21 June on Zoom
    Normally at the end of our 24 hour run we have a celebration where we link up with our Palestinian friends. It is always very moving and inspiring. For this year we are planning a large Zoom meeting where people from Palestine and Britain will talk. More details to follow.


Join the Write to Move zoom –  we invite you to join in a Write to Move online writing workshop. Come and pen your thoughts on the restriction of movement in Palestine and here in the UK. No previous experience required, just a pen and paper. Saturday 20th June at 7-8pm

If you would like to join, please email by midnight 18th June. We will send you a zoom invite (the day before). Note: Maximum 30 people, first come, first served. Suitable for age 16+


People are already planning their activities! We have been told about some fantastic and varied ideas for activities

“Some kind of solo run, depending on the government guidelines at the time!”

“Hi, already on the way, aiming to complete 100km in 5 km chunks as part of loving the lockdown. 30km done so far to 21st April”

“By the time the event takes place I aim to be able to run from my house in Nether Edge to Meersbrook park, up the hill without stopping and back. This will be a 5km run. I can do the distance but at the moment can only get to the second bench without stopping then walking.”

“On the weekend between two of us we intend to do 180 circuits in our front garden: 10 burpees, 5 step hops, 20 sit ups, 10 push ups in each circuit. One circuit for every Palestinian child currently imprisoned or detained by Israel.”

“I am currently running the ‘small park big run’ route in 5k slots and have done 40k in total so far! I will do as much as I can and finish on the 21st of June”

“Over that weekend I will run one of our lockdown cycling routes: from our house in Broomhall, up through Walkley and down to Malin Bridge, along to Low Bradfield, around the reservoir and back – just over 24K. My partner will cycle alongside me providing drink, moral support and lots of love.”

“Walk to Hope! From Grindleford to Hope via Stanage, back again along River Derwent… please join us, socially distancing, leaving Grindleford Station 10 am 20/6/20….we all need more hope!”

Additionally, we know of:

  • A writing exercise on Zoom.
  • A choir combining over zoom
  • A team will be covering the whole 24 hours doing a host of different activities – scholarship fund.
  • A very physically distanced 9km time trial orienteering private race setting off from and returning to Meersbrook Park. Organised by some members of a sister event – The Cat Lane Canter.
  • One participant will be conducting 24 hours of yoga and running between now and 21 June.
  • AFC Unity – an award-winning independent women’s football club promoting social justice will be participating by encouraging members to conduct an activity of their own choice and sharing it on social media. 


Facebook –
Twitter –
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Email –
Strava –


Please ensure your activity is safe and observes not only the guidance of the UK government, but also your own common sense and judgement. Please do not use public transport if at all possible. If you are doing your activity in a public space please ensure the space is safe and two metre plus distancing can be observed at all times. If you are at all uncertain then delay your activity to a less busy time or move it to a less busy area. Please also ensure your activity does not place you at a highly elevated risk of injury, in particular injuries that might require a visit to casualty and place an additional burden on the NHS. 

SPBR 2020 – not cancelled but reconfigured!

Run for freedom

It is with great regret we have taken the decision to make a change to our wonderful solidarity event this year due to the COVID-19 emergency.

Rather than the wonderful community festival, we will be encouraging people to do a small activity in their home or garden – or local park, at safe distance from others – and send a picture to us, which we publish.

We will be providing more details and ideas over the coming weeks and while we would like you to do this in the 24 hours when the run would have taken place, June 20th midday to June 21st midday, you can obviously do it at any time.

Let’s have hundreds of small solidarity actions and shout out for Palestine!

News from our programmes in Gaza and the West Bank

The small park BIG RUN raises funds for a Healing Centre for children in Khuza’a, South Eastern Gaza and also for a Sheffield based fund that provides scholarships for Palestinian women to go to University.

The picture above shows the first students from the West Bank to benefit from the fund.

We have this news from these programmes:

CONGRATULATIONS to all the partner runs in Gaza

Runners in Khan Younis

CONGRATULATIONS, solidarity and friendship to all the runners and organisers of the runs in the Gaza Strip – in Khan Younis, Khaza’a, Beit Hanoun and Nussairat.  We here in Sheffield, UK, at Small Park BIG Run, were so proud and happy to run in solidarity with you last weekend.  We appreciate the very difficult circumstances and the challenges you face.  The hot weather is something we didn’t think of, especially as it was cold for summer here, and raining a lot, so it was hard to imagine it being too hot!!  But one of the three West Bank runs, in Ramallah told us they couldn’t run until later in the day on Saturday 15th, as it was too hot.  The rest of the runs (seven in all!) ran with an even greater challenge of the hot weather.  We are sorry – next year you must choose the best time for you!  So many people running here told us how much they loved the idea of running ‘with you’ all – us here in Sheffield and you all in Palestine.  Thank you SO much.

As you probably know our local Member of Parliament, Louise Haigh and our Lord Mayor of Sheffield talked about your runs at our event – we hope you had copies of the Certificate from the Lord Mayor issued for the runners in Palestine, as well as in Sheffield – we can email another copy if you didn’t received it already. 

We will continue to campaign and spread the word about the importance of justice, peace and equality for all Palestinians, and will continue to raise funds for the projects for the play and the healing project for children and for education scholarships for women in Gaza. With all our respect, friendship and solidarity,

Sheffield to Palestine: Together We Run for Justice and Dignity

run for freedom

While we are running round our park in Meersbrook, there will also be people running in Palestine: in Nablus, Ramallah, Bethlehem and in Gaza.
The isolation they are subjected to day to day will often make people feel they are forgotten. By running together we are helping Palestinians feel supported .

We are especially pleased to say that a run will take place at “Al-Istiqlal-Independence Park” in Ramallah on Saturday 15 June 2019, from 17:00 to 18:30 pm.

We expect at least 100 people of all ages – mainly from four camps in the middle of the West Bank, Al-Jalazoun, Qalandia, Al Ama’ri and Birziet refugee camps – to take part.

The head of the Executive Office of the Refugees’ Camps in the West Bank will open the event highlighting our solidarity in Sheffield with Palestinian people.

spbr 2019 – breaking down barriers

Last year and in 2017 we had wonderful community based runs and a generous spirit pervading all aspects of the 24 hours. And during these runs we emphasised with really good effect how things we take for granted, like the right to movement and adequate living space, are not enjoyed by most Palestinians because of the siege of Gaza or occupation of the West Bank.

This year we want to extend this further to explore a dominant theme for Palestinians – separation: from home and homeland, from family and loved ones, from participating as a free person in civic life.

This year we would like to try to decrease this separation and consequent isolation all be it in a small way. This year we especially want to have an inclusive run. This means including all of our community locally as well as reaching to Palestinians 00s of miles away.

So we will be making contact with local groups not involved before and we want to encourage disabled people to take part too. We will be setting aside a couple of time slots where we will make a particular effort to ensure you have the support you need; and, if we can, we will help at other times too.

If you are disabled, we will work with you to see how we can help. Please get in touch

And we will be encouraging runners to reach out and ‘buddy up’ with runners in Nablus and Bethlehem, as well as our long term partners in Khan Younis in Gaza, where there will be simultaneous runs.

In addition we have plans for a climbing wall and an imitation checkpoint to give a flavour of the life Palestinians lead every day.

And of course there will be more poetry, a photo exhibition, lanterns at dusk and lots of music.

Sign up and take part !

Why run?

Why do we run?
to see a new view over the brow of the hill
to see inside ourselves, smell the wild air
know the trees and feel the space, the air holding us
for the joy at the end.
The people in Gaza have been running uphill for a long, long time

we need space
to run
to be
to think
to breathe
to collect ourselves
to hide
time runs as the people in Gaza strain for return

as a child I loved to make dens in the countryside with hay bales
or in the woods
as a child I loved to be a dog
as a child I loved to race my brothers
as a child I loved to read on my own
as a child I loved to wander free with friends
the children of Gaza have lost the right to wander

we protest
because we have to
because there is no choice
ideas will not be bound
2335 miles from Sheffield to Palestine
our thoughts cross in a second

we protest to protect children
to speak the truth, for freedom
to make a change
we run to support the people of Gaza

we run in this moment with the people of Palestine
action brings hope, hope creates change
voices together
we cheer for the runners
we cheer for freedom
we cheer til we’re hoarse

we cheer for the people of Gaza

Arif Ali is taking it all in his stride

Arif Ali will be running the small park BIG RUN as a member of the big Steel City Striders team that will cover the whole 24 hours in hour slots. Below, Arif tells us about his approach to running, what it’s like to run in Ramadan and sends a message of support to our friends in Palestine.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing, beard and outdoor

Who are you? Please introduce yourself!

Hi, my name is Arif, I was born in London, and moved to Sheffield over 14 years ago, when I came for my first job in Sheffield. I enjoy IT, and my work is also in IT. And obviously I love running

Tell us about your running journey. Why did you start?

When I used to be in London several years ago, up until 2003, I used to run regularly around Wanstead Flats area. We used to do this on approx. twice a week and with the group of people I was running approx. 15 kilometres a week

When I moved to Sheffield in December 2003, first, I got lazy, and secondly, I blamed the hills for not running; so, I got really unfit and put on some weight.

As of January 2017, I re-started running, in the aim for raising monies for Cancer Research UK (CRUK), on the basis of how much the NHS and the Cancer support did for my mother.

This was a very slow process, and very tiresome. I joined the gym, and my first attempt only lasted about 10 mins doing about half a mile. However, I slowly progressed over a few months, and I found that I was able to do about 5K on the treadmill, and within that time I found out about parkrun; so, I decided to take that on in March. I’m proud to say, that my first parkrun time was 34:14.

After a small break of small injuries, I was back on it again in September, especially with my first ever 10K race coming up at the end of September

I discovered the Couch to 5K (C25K) group run by a few Striders, and joined up; this gave me so much, that it helped with my running, with posture and form. There’s much more detail in my blog post about this.

What’s so good about the Steel City Striders? ?

I joined the Steel City Striders (SCS) in September 2017 just before doing the Sheffield 10K. As it’s a big club you have a variety of people with newbies and some people with great experience. I learnt loads from the Facebook group, where I was given great encouragement, advice and support. Further from that, running regularly in the training runs, I have met some great people with great experiences. Just by running with these people, I have learnt loads, and have been able to apply the advice that they have given. This has helped me a lot over the past 6 months, with my running journey.

The Steel City Striders contingent at the Sheffield Half Marathon

Why are you participating in the small park BIG RUN?

I am a runner, and also try to support campaigns where possible for Palestine. This event combined both factors together.

What do you hope it will achieve?

I would hope that it can raise further awareness of the issues in Gaza and the rest of Palestine.

What do you think you will get from participating in the small park BIG RUN.

I would hope to speak to people, and find real life stories on issues in Palestine as well as having some fun at the same time.

Do you have a message for our friends in Gaza?

Stay firm and resolute, our prayers are with you, and hopefully you are able to get freedom that you seek.

What has it been like training for this run during Ramadan?

This was my first year running in Ramadhan, and I was quite nervous and apprehensive. The main reason being was about hydration and tiredness after the runs. I had also signed up for a race, which was being staged 5 days after the start of Ramadhan too. I found a small post from a Muslim football coach who had a few great pointers, I picked on a few of these, and I believe this has helped overall. When I did my initial run I felt good and there were no adverse effects later in the day. You can read more about my experience of the race in my blog.

Overall after this experience, I will have managed to do more miles in the month of Ramadhan. With a week to go I have managed  106 miles, and my record in a Gregorian calendar month is 110 miles. I am expecting to beat that by about 10 miles if everything goes to plan.

So, all in all, it’s been a fantastic month when it’s come to running!

Anything else you’d like to say?

I hope we can raise more money than last year, and we can go beyond that. I hope this is an enjoyable event for everyone, and we can raise awareness of the issues in Palestine.

Many thanks Arif!

Arif’s blog • parkrun  • couch25K • Steel City Striders  • Training and fasting

Louise Haigh MP: An honorable friend of Palestine

“It’s easy to be cynical about trying to change the world, but if I can take part, have fun and help promote and raise funds for such a good cause then it’s worth tiring myself out.”

Louise Haigh has very kindly agreed to open this year’s small park BIG RUN. She will also run the first half hour time slot – no mean feat for a super busy Member of Parliament.  We asked her about her views on justice for Palestinians and what her thoughts are on the upcoming run – read what she said below.

Louise Haigh (left) at 2017 small park big run

What is the single most important thing that needs to be done to achieve justice in Palestine?

I was in Palestine in February this year and just a couple of weeks ago I secured a debate in Parliament on the humanitarian situation in Gaza.  I don’t think anyone could say that there is one, single thing that will bring justice to the Palestinian people so in no particular order I think recognition, arms control and properly recognising trade with the illegal settlements as illegal are steps we can immediately take to set us on the road to justice but only a sovereign Palestinian state, I believe, will see justice delivered.

Why are you running?

Supporting the ambitions and life chances of young women and girls who are living in unimaginably tough circumstances is really important to me. We have so many freedoms and opportunities in this country compared to young people growing up in Palestine, and events like this can be a great way to help make life easier for those who don’t.

It’s easy to be cynical about trying to change the world but if I can take part, have fun and help promote and raise funds for such a good cause then it’s worth tiring myself out.

How did you enjoy the event last year and why?

Last year’s run took place right after the General Election – so by comparison it was fairly relaxing. The turnout and enthusiasm of the people there was really encouraging and I’m hoping the weather this summer can coax even more people out for the occasion.

How many laps will you do this time?

I can’t remember how many I did last year, it was only a couple of days after the most exhausting election campaign I’ve ever known so I walked around it pretty leisurely with Julie Pearn and chatted the whole way round. I’ll say four and hope I can bust expectations.

Who will run the fastest lap, you or Magid Magid?

I’ll do my best but I’d imagine it’ll be Magid – I’ve recently taken up boxing and football again so I’m built for strength rather than than speed!

Thanks Louise!