The Bath Skyline parkrun at Claverton Down in Bath is one of hundreds of ‘parkruns’ around the UK marking the NHS’s 70th birthday this year, by dedicating its 7th July run to NHS staff.
The initiative, known as ‘parkrun for the NHS,’ aims to recognise the contribution of the NHS to the health of the nation and inspire people to take part in physical activity and volunteering.
Bath Skyline 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.
On 7th July, participants at Bath Skyline parkrun are being encouraged to take part in a ‘NHS volunteer takeover’, which should see lots of NHS staff members take on the role of marshals, timekeepers and supporters. There will also be lots of NHS staff running, walking and jogging the route themselves.
Helen Conner, Bath Skyline parkrun Director said: “We would love to see as many NHS staff as possible on the day, to walk, run, volunteer or simply receive a well-earned round of applause for the incredible contribution they make to our community.
“Bath Skyline parkrun is a friendly, welcoming event that provides a perfect opportunity to get out in the fresh air to socialise and be physically active in a supportive environment.”
Ilana Langdon, Director of Medical Education for Royal United Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “As a keen parkrunner, I’ve seen the benefits and the welcoming atmosphere at the Bath Skyline parkrun for myself.
“I would recommend it to all staff – no matter what your current level of fitness.
“I’m delighted we have this opportunity to promote exercise and healthy living for RUH staff and families, as part of the NHS70 celebrations.”
Tracey Cox, Chief Officer of NHS Bath and North East Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for everyone to get involved in celebrating this important milestone for our National Health Service.
“What better present to give the NHS – and yourself – than looking after your health by being physically active and getting involved in a brilliant community activity like parkrun. I hope to see you there.”
The ‘parkrun for the NHS’ initiative is being 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.