Britain’s most successful male tennis player, Andy Murray, is encouraging people across the UK to take part in ‘parkrun for the NHS’ to celebrate the NHS’s 75th birthday and to take steps towards a more healthy, active lifestyle.
Tens of thousands of people across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are expected to ‘parkrun for the NHS’ at parkrun events on Saturday 8 July and junior parkrun events on Sunday 9 July.
‘Parkrun for the NHS’ is an opportunity for parkruns and their local communities to acknowledge the huge contribution that the NHS makes to the health of the nation and celebrate all the staff and volunteers, past and present, who have made the NHS what it is.
Murray, who has won three Grand Slam titles and is the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Singles Champion, said: “The NHS is one of our nation’s greatest institutions and I am honoured to support its 75th birthday. ‘Parkrun for the NHS’ is a great initiative and it’ll be amazing to see thousands of people from across the UK walking, running and volunteering at their local parkrun and junior parkrun events to mark this major milestone in the NHS’s history.
“Our nurses, doctors, paramedics, midwives and all of the other NHS staff and volunteers do an amazing job caring for us and the NHS’s 75th birthday is an opportunity to recognise their hard work and commitment. It’s also a fantastic way of encouraging more people across the UK to be active, together in the outdoors, no matter what their age, ability or background. I’d encourage everyone to head down to their local parkrun or junior parkrun and join in the 75th birthday fun. Even better if you can do it in the trademark NHS blue, better still in fancy dress!”
This is the second time parkrun UK and the NHS have worked together in this way. In 2018, for the 70th birthday of the NHS, an incredible UK-wide celebration was held which saw more than 146,000 people taking part as walkers, joggers, runners and volunteers, many of whom had never been to a parkrun before.
Everyone is being encouraged to dress in the NHS trademark blue or fancy dress. Lots of NHS teams will be taking part and can provide information about the NHS and signpost to all the ways communities can help support the service, for example joining the NHS Organ Donor Register, giving blood or signing up to research programmes.
Dame Ruth May DBE, Chief Nursing Officer for England, said: “I’m delighted that the NHS has teamed up with parkrun UK to help celebrate the NHS’s 75th birthday. We are encouraging as many people as possible – from local communities to NHS staff and volunteers – to get involved, whether it’s by walking, jogging or running the course, or lending a hand as a volunteer. It is a great way to get together and celebrate the NHS for its anniversary but importantly, a great way to take steps towards a healthy lifestyle too.”
Chrissie Wellington, Global Head of Health and Wellbeing at parkrun, said: “We are thrilled to be joining forces with the NHS across the UK to celebrate its 75th anniversary. We know that participating in parkrun and junior parkrun is incredibly beneficial to people’s mental and physical health, and best of all the events are local, they are accessible, they are free, and they are fun! They’re also there every week, and we’d love to see those taking part continue to join us in the future. ‘parkrun for the NHS’ is the perfect way for us to increase awareness of parkrun across the health sector while at the same time paying tribute to the enormous and incredibly valuable contribution of NHS staff and volunteers to the health of our nation.”
Professor Sir Gregor Smith, Chief Medical Officer, Scottish Government said: “We’re delighted that parkrun are joining us in our celebrations for the 75th year of the NHS. It’s such a milestone year for us and this is a fantastic opportunity for people of all ages to attend, volunteer, walk, jog, run, cheer and most importantly, enjoy the experience. parkruns are a great way for everyone to get involved and make those steps towards a healthier and more active lifestyle. Regardless of your age or fitness levels, I would encourage as many people as possible to come along and ‘parkrun for the NHS’ and help us to celebrate our incredible NHS staff and volunteers.”
Northern Ireland Chief Medical Officer Professor Sir Michael McBride said: “The NHS is celebrating a remarkable achievement this year and what better way to mark this momentous event than by getting outdoors and getting active.
“I hope as many people as possible take part in the parkrun events across the UK, including here in Northern Ireland, either by running, jogging, walking or volunteering.”
Chief Medical Officer for Wales Sir Frank Atherton said: “NHS75 is a great opportunity for people to celebrate the huge impact that the NHS has on all our lives.
“By walking, running or volunteering in a local parkrun in Wales individuals will be taking a big step towards improving their health and fitness, leaving a great legacy for NHS75.”
For more information about ‘parkrun for the NHS’ and how to get involved, visit www.england.nhs.uk/parkrun.