[C]umbrian NHS staff and Carlisle parkrunners who suggested a national celebration of the 70th birthday of the NHS went running with Dame Kelly Holmes on Saturday.
The event in Tonbridge launched a national celebratory parkrun which will be held across the UK on Saturday 9 June.
The idea came from Nicola Jackson and Kate Holliday who work for NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group. They have been working with NHS England and parkrun UK to develop the idea and were invited to the national launch in Tonbridge in Kent on Saturday – the home parkrun for Dame Kelly Holmes, who trained as a nursing assistant.
The event saw more than 600 people – many in fancy dress – take part in a 5km parkrun.
Nicola, a children’s commissioner, said: “It’s been fantastic to see an idea come to life. We know at Carlisle parkrun the impact being part of the parkrun community can have on people’s health, fitness and wellbeing.
“When we thought about creating a celebration of the NHS we never thought we would be running with Dame Kelly Holmes!
“It was a fabulous experience and there was such warmth and enthusiasm among the parkrunners in Tonbridge at the weekend.
Nicola and Kate were joined by Helen Cupac from Carlisle parkrun at the event in Kent.
Nicola added: “We know on the 9th of June we are planning a huge celebration at Carlisle parkrun and we want to see that enthusiasm spread right across the UK. Already more than a 130 parkrun events have signed up to take part and we can’t wait to see this grow.”
Hundreds of parkruns take place in parks and open spaces across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales every Saturday morning. The community-led events are designed for people of all ages and abilities – including walkers.
#NHS70parkrun will encourage new participants, including NHS staff and volunteers, to come along to their local parkrun to recognise the contribution of the National Health Service to the health of the nation.
You can find out more about the NHS70 parkrun on 9 June HERE.
Ian Dodge, NHS England’s National Director of Strategy and Innovation, said: “With more than half of adults in England currently overweight or obese, it is vital that people find time in their busy lives to get more active. In the year the NHS turns 70, taking part in this special edition of parkrun is one way to get fitter, feel better and deliver a welcome birthday present for the health service too.”
Chrissie Wellington, Global Head of Health and Wellbeing at parkrun, said: “We are passionate about using parkrun to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals and the communities in which they live, and the physical activity element is just the start. Friendship, community cohesion, access to open space, fresh air and skill development through volunteering are just some of the ways that participation in parkrun can have a positive impact on health and happiness.”