Bushy parkrun at Bushy Park in Teddington is one of hundreds of ‘parkruns’ around the UK who hosted a special NHS birthday celebration event on Saturday 9 June.
The initiative, known as ‘parkrun for the NHS,’ aimed to recognise the contribution of the NHS to the health of the nation and inspire people to take part in physical activity and volunteering.
Bushy parkrun is a free 5k event that takes place every Saturday morning at 9am. It is open to walkers and runners of all ages and abilities and is coordinated entirely by volunteers from the local community. The weekly event regularly attracts between 1,200 – 1,400 participants making it the largest parkrun in the country.
On 9 June participants at Bushy parkrun were encouraged to celebrate the NHS by dressing up in NHS theme fancy dress or by wearing NHS blue. NHS employees from local providers, GP practices and the Kingston and Richmond Clinical Commissioning Groups were encouraged to come along, get active and enjoy the celebration.
Co-promoting the themed day with Kingston and Richmond CCGs, the event attracted hundreds of people dressed in NHS theme outfits or colours. Participants were also able to pledge their support for the NHS in other ways, such as taking care of themselves, using NHS services wisely, giving blood, becoming an organ donor, or considering working for the NHS.
Rob Phillips Bushy parkrun Event Director said: “We were thrilled to see so many NHS staff participate in the parkrun, whether they walked, ran, supported or received a well-earned round of applause for the incredible contribution they make to our community. It was great to see so many of our regular participants and volunteers embrace the day also by dressing up in NHS themed fancy dress. We hope everyone enjoyed parkrun and we look forward to seeing the NHS staff again on Saturday mornings at Bushy!”
Looking after yourself is so important and is an easy way to prevent ill health – whether it’s cutting down on alcohol, giving up smoking, cutting down on unhealthy food or becoming more active.
The ‘parkrun for the NHS’ initiative was supported by 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, she said: “Increased levels of activity leads to improved mood, self-esteem and a wide range of health benefits. I know from first-hand experience how sociable and welcoming parkruns are, so it’s fantastic to see it join forces with the NHS in its 70th year to encourage even more people to get active in this special year.”
The growing levels of obesity in adults and children is a major health issue for the NHS, as it can lead to a number of serious and potentially life-threatening conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, some types of cancer and stroke. Obesity can also affect quality of life and lead to psychological problems.
The cost to the NHS of treating diabetes alone is around £10 billion every year – nearly 10% of the NHS budget. It is estimated that obesity is responsible for more than 30,000 deaths each year and that obesity could overtake tobacco smoking as the biggest cause of preventable death.
In August 2017, parkrun conducted a UK-wide survey of almost 2,000 healthcare professionals. Over three in every five (63%) responding revealed that they prescribe parkrun in some form, while almost nine in ten (88%) said they would consider referring users to parkrun.
- If you would like to participate in a parkrun, registration is free and can be done on the parkrun website: http://www.parkrun.org.uk/register/
- The Bushy parkrun website is: http://www.parkrun.org.uk/bushy/
- Information about other NHS70 celebrations, activities and pledges can be found on the NHS70 website https://www.nhs70.nhs.uk/