Leveraging mass participation events for sustainable health legacy

Niamh Murphy, Aoife Lane, Adrian Bauman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Given their population reach, mass sporting and physical activity events within the community have considerable potential as levers to encourage people to become physically active and improve their health. Research attention has focused on the multitude of potential outcomes from mega sports events involving competitive elite athletes, but the impact of mass participation events has received less scrutiny. This article reviews the evidence on whether mass participation events attract ‘non-sporty’ members of the population. The evidence that events can be leveraged for long term health gain is also reviewed. It is also important to ascertain whether people who take part in an event do so as a ‘once-off’, or whether the event can be a trigger to longer term, sustained physical activity habits amongst participants. The potential underlying mechanisms by which mass events might be leveraged to increase population physical activity, including the alignment of the role of charity, are explored, and guidance for leveraging events for health gain presented. The potential legacy of such events is largely untapped. A challenge for event organisers is to ensure that mass participation sports events do not elicit negative health consequences as a result of close alignment with conflicting corporate interests.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)758-766
Number of pages9
JournalLeisure Studies
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 02 Nov 2015


  • health
  • legacy
  • mass participation sports event
  • physical activity


Dive into the research topics of 'Leveraging mass participation events for sustainable health legacy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this