What better way to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the NHS than with a health-promoting 5k run?! Henley parkrun marked the NHS milestone last Saturday morning (8 July), with runners of all ages turning up for the occasion.
A number of NHS representatives laced up their trainers for the event, including Bell Surgery GP Matt Norman. Before the run, he said to the crowd, “Most, if not all of us, were born into the NHS. We have got a lot to be grateful for, and it’s amazing in this day and age how many countries don’t have access to free healthcare. It really is a privilege to have it. It’s the dedication of nurses, doctors, clinical and non-clinical colleagues, that gives the NHS that precious place in our nation’s hearts.”
Matt continued, “We all know it is starting to creak at the seams a bit, it’s being a bit more reactive (so we are dealing with illness rather than proactively promoting health) but I know we have got the support of the community to help us navigate these difficult times. It’s great that there are community organisations like parkrun that promote physical and mental wellbeing. The parkrun movement is such a phenomenal example of that. Speaking for myself, I’ve been a keen runner for years, but only been an active parkrun participant for a few months now. It’s through seeing it firsthand that makes me realise how brilliant it is, and I’m starting to recommend or even prescribe it for patients! Thank you to parkrun for everything they do.”
Aidan McGuire from Connect Health (which provides muscoskeletal services for the NHS), also spoke to the runners beforehand. He stated, “Physical activity and promoting physical is a massive part of what we do. Most people come to us because they are in pain and they’re not able to do the physical activity they would like to be able to do, and we know how important that is for people’s physical health as well as mental health. Parkrun and all the initiatives like this are brilliant for everyone to come to and stay active.”
The NHS representatives, along with the parkrun volunteers who keep the weekly event going, were all clapped and thanked for their efforts. There were healthy (and not so healthy, but okay in moderation!) snacks for finishers, and post it notes for participants to write about their stories of the NHS.
Parkrun is a free 5k race that takes place every Saturday morning, 9am at 40 Acre Path, off Tilebarn Close. Everyone is welcome to join in regardless of age or ability; to find out more, visit https://www.parkrun.org.uk/henleyonthames/.