TV doctor and top NHS clinicians launch ‘parkrun for the NHS’

‘Parkrun for the NHS’ is an exciting partnership between parkrun UK and the NHS to celebrate the NHS’s 75th anniversary and showcase parkrun as a safe and inclusive space for all ages, abilities and backgrounds to be active and social in the great outdoors.

Tens of thousands of people across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are expected to ‘parkrun for the NHS’ at their local parkrun events on Saturday 8 July and junior parkrun events on Sunday 9 July.

Launch events took place this weekend across the UK. In Colchester Dame Ruth May DBE, Chief Nursing Officer for England, Professor Sir Stephen Powis, National Medical Director at NHS England, Paul Sinton-Hewitt CBE, parkrun founder, and TV’s Dr Al-Zubaidi joined the local community of more than 400 walkers, joggers, runners and volunteers at Highwoods parkrun, setting a new attendance record.

They also welcomed Niels, who is a member of the NHS cadets programme and is hoping to join the NHS as a paramedic.

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’s 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.

As well as celebrating the NHS’s 75th with ‘parkrun for the NHS’, parkrun has a partnership with the Royal College of GPs, which sees more than 1,700 GP practices across the UK committed to prescribing parkrun to patients and staff to help improve both mental and physical health.

Dr Hussain Al-Zubaidi said: “The NHS is one of our country’s greatest institutions and it cares for us from the day we are born and throughout our lives. I encourage people across the country to mark the NHS’s 75th birthday and show their support for its staff and volunteers, past and present, by taking part in ‘parkrun for the NHS’ on the 8th and 9th July. If you have never been to a parkrun before then I would highly recommend it. It is one of the easiest ways to get active and is open to walkers, joggers, runners, volunteers and spectators, and is a great way to connect with your community. And why not dress in NHS blue or fancy dress?”

Dame Ruth May DBE 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.”

Professor Sir Stephen Powis said: “As well as being a great way to thank NHS staff and volunteers during the NHS’s 75th year, we hope ‘parkrun for the NHS’ will help encourage people to consider being more active. We know physical activity is great for your body and mind. Some is good – more is better still”.

Dame Kelly Holmes, a regular parkrunner who worked as a nursing assistant before going into the British Army and later becoming a full-time athlete, said: “It is fantastic to see that parkrun and junior parkrun events are joining forces with the NHS across the UK to celebrate its 75th anniversary. ‘parkrun for the NHS’ is a great opportunity for people to come together to improve their own health and wellbeing, through activity and social connection, as well as to thank the incredible NHS staff and volunteers across the country. I’d encourage everyone to head down to their local parkrun or junior parkrun event on 8 and 9 July and make this a wonderful 75th celebration to remember!”

‘Parkrun for the NHS’ takes place at parkruns across the UK on:

  • Saturday 8 July
  • Sunday 9 July (junior parkrun)

For more information about ‘parkrun for the NHS’ including how to get involved and find your local parkrun, visit