Image of the Parkrun logo

Parkrun sought a quick, simple and barrier-free way to send times to its runners. aql’s SMS service proved the perfect tool for the job.

parkrun messages

Since its founding 19 years ago, parkrun has established almost 1,200 locations and is supported by just under 400,000 volunteers. With such a large network of sites and participants, communicating running time data has to be simple and efficient.


Finding the perfect format

parkrun needed to find a way to provide thousands of runners with their times by SMS simply and accurately. Due to the number of events and participants, manually sending this information was not a viable option, meaning compatibility with API plugins would be required. aql SMS was the perfect solution.


sms platform diagram



Sending simple information reliably in volume

To accurately provide running times to its members, parkrun provides each runner with a unique barcode registered to their mobile phone numbers. The timer begins at the same time for all participants then, after the runners cross the finish line, their unique barcode is scanned and they receive an SMS informing them of their time. All parkrun times are bulk supplied to aql’s SMS API to distribute to recipients’ mobile phones individually. These times, along with other messages such as those thanking parkrun volunteers, are handled using aql SMS.

Supporting the cause

When aql chairman and founder Professor Adam Beaumont first heard about the idea of parkrun from its founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt, he saw the positive impact it intended to make and wanted aql to be a part of it. In line with aql’s belief in doing not just “less bad” but also “more good”, the company offered our SMS service free of charge in exchange for sponsorship. This arrangement has been going on since 2011, in which time we have provided over 50 million messages to parkrunners. 


image: Paul Sinton-Hewitt, founder of Parkrun

Paul Sinton-Hewitt (pictured), the founder of Parkrun, said “Our partnership with aql keeps uncovering new ways we can help impact people’s lives using technology. I'm excited to see where the journey will take us.”