More than 85,000 people are expected to take part in #NHS70 Parkrun this Saturday (9 June).
The event is UK-wide with over 350 local Parkruns hosting special themed events in celebration of the NHS’s upcoming 70th birthday in July.
Many of our staff love taking part in the free, timed, weekly 5k run, and some of them told us what it is they enjoy.
Angela Monaghan, our chair, recently got into running when she downloaded the NHS’s Couch to 5k app. She said: “Before, I couldn’t even run to the end of the road. I wanted to improve my fitness, so I downloaded the fantastic Couch to 5k app. I’ve now completed two parkruns, knocking over two minutes off my time at the second one, and joined a local running club.
“My first parkrun was in Guernsey which must be one of the most scenic parkruns in the whole country! My local one is Brighouse which I found to have such a fantastic atmosphere, everyone is so supportive.
“I tell everyone if they think they can’t do it to download Couch to 5k. I never thought I would join a running group or complete a 5k. Couch to 5k taught me to just keep going – when you think you can’t go any more, just keep going.”
Mike Garnham, who works in our performance and information team, regularly runs the Nostell parkrun. He said: “I fell in love the first time I did a parkrun. It’s such a well-organised and worthwhile event. I’ve now done several parkruns across the country and I’ve found that no matter where you go, it’s a great atmosphere.
“I volunteer at parkrun too and get just as much of a buzz from volunteering as I do from running. All the volunteers give as much of a cheer to the people at the back as they do at the front.
“I think the NHS70 parkrun is a great idea and I’d love to see everyone give it a go. It doesn’t matter if you walk or run. I have two people in my team who I’m convincing to give a parkrun a try. I’m a complete convert.”
Non-executive director Chris Jones chose parkrun as an alternative to the gym when his working hours changed. He said: “I go to the gym a lot but wanted to try a different kind of exercise. I enjoy exercising but running was something that I hadn’t done for a while, so as my wife already does parkrun I recently decided to give my first one a go.
“When I got there, I found that there was very much a positive atmosphere with everyone encouraging each other and it made me really keen to go back.
“If anyone’s thinking of giving it a go I’d say go for it – you’ll soon get lost in the hundreds of people taking part! It’s not just for athletes or fast runners – it’s a bit of fresh air, a bit of exercise, and a lot of fun.”