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Don’t just sit there, get your trainers on

The Global Head of Health and Wellbeing for the parkrun event calls on primary care staff to join thousands of others pledging their support:

In June last year parkrun and the Royal College of General Practitioners launched the hugely successful parkrun practice initiative.

More than 800 general practices have now signed up to be a ‘parkrun practice’; linking with their local parkrun events to promote the health and wellbeing of patients and staff.

To celebrate the first anniversary of the initiative, parkrun and RCGP have again teamed up to organise a national GP parkrun Pledge Day. We want to encourage GPs and general practice staff across the UK to pledge, in advance, to join thousands of walkers, runners and volunteers at parkrun events on Saturday 1 June.

The GP parkrun pledge day is the first event of its type, and builds on the success of last year’s celebration across hundreds of parkruns to mark the NHS’s 70th birthday. That day saw more than 146,000 people take part in parkrun, with a 14 per cent increase in the number of participants who were inactive when they registered and 9,000 people participating for the very first time.

All the information about the day, including the pledge form, can be found here.

NHS England’s National Director of Strategy and Innovation, and passionate parkrunner, Ian Dodge, is among those championing the parkrun practices initiative and the Pledge Day.

He said: “What a start! 800 parkrun practices in just one year is a hugely impressive achievement. It’s more than 10% of the country. If parkrun and the RCGP can keep up this momentum, the majority of GP practices in England will be involved within another four years. And thousands more people would benefit from the green spaces, the fresh air, the exercise, and above all the companionship and sense of community.

“Parkrun is always there for you, every Saturday morning. It first got me into running back in 2006 when it was called the Bushy Park Time Trial. The event on 1st June will be very special, and I’m really looking forward to tying my laces.”

GPs and TV personalities Dr Zoe Williams and Dr Rangan Chatterjee, as well as the Chair of the RCGP, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, are also lending their support.

For those who aren’t familiar with parkrun, they are volunteer-led 5k events that take place each Saturday morning across the UK and are open to walkers, runners and volunteers of all ages and abilities. There are currently 620 such events, with about 150,000 people taking part every single weekend.

It is hoped that the Pledge Day on 1 June will help raise awareness of parkrun across the health sector, encourage practice staff to signpost patients and service users to parkrun and promote sustained participation by those who are least active or have health conditions.

We want to demonstrate the importance of collaboration between primary care and the voluntary sector, using community assets to help address health inequalities, improve social cohesion and build communities that are centred on wellness.

Please do join thousands of others, and pledge your support, to help make this special day a success!

Chrissie Wellington

Chrissie Wellington OBE is Global Head of Health and Wellbeing for Parkrun and is also four-time Ironman World Champion.

Chrissie was awarded a first-class degree by the University of Birmingham (BsC Geography) and a Distinction from the University of Manchester (MA Econ Development Studies).

Prior to becoming a professional athlete in 2007, she worked for the British Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) as a policy adviser on international development and also managed water and sanitation projects in Nepal.

She published her Sunday Times Best Selling autobiography, A Life Without Limits, in 2012, and To the Finish Line: A World Champion Triathlete’s Guide to Your Perfect Race, in 2017.

Chrissie was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2010 Birthday Honours and Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2016 New Year Honours for services to sport and charity.

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