Henley parkrun participants scrubbed up on Saturday (9 June) for a special NHS 70th birthday celebration event. Athletes of all ages gathered at 40 Acre Path, off Tilebarn Close, for the weekly 5k run with a medical twist. Across the UK, hundreds of volunteers hosted ‘parkrun for the NHS’, acknowledging the NHS’ valuable work in improving the health of the nation.
The volunteer parkrun co-ordinators all dressed the part, donning their scrubs and doctor’s coats. A number of the runners also wore costumes to mark the occasion, including a handful of local medical professionals. The participants were able to leave notes of admiration and support for the NHS on a notice board. Heartfelt comments read: “Thanks for straightening my back!”, “Thanks for looking after my Grandma in the Royal Berks.” and “Thank you, Milly and Rachael, for helping me to live again.” After the run, the joggers were invited for celebratory coffee and cake at Cafe Copia, in Market Square.
Parkrun has received a great deal of support from the NHS in motivating the public to get active. In August 2017, parkrun carried out a nationwide survey of nearly 2,000 healthcare professionals, and found that 63% had prescribed parkrun to patients. Moreover, 88% said they would consider referring patients to parkrun.
Dame Kelly Holmes, a former nursing assistant and GB athlete, was one of the many supporters of the parkrun for the NHS initiative. She stated, “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.”
Though the NHS theme might have been a special occasion, parkrun takes place every Saturday morning at 9am on 40 Acre Path, Tilebarn Close. Whether you’re 5, or 95, everyone is welcome to join in and discover the benefits of running. To find out more, visit www.parkrun.org.uk/henleyonthames/