Local GPs and practice staff sign up to be ‘parkrun practices’

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Nurse Practitioner Dawn Sargent, based at Dr Marasco’s Surgery in West Road, Shoeburyness, will be running her 150th parkrun as part of the Royal College of General Practitioners campaign to get 1,000 GPs and practice staff participating in a local parkrun. This will take place on Saturday, 1 June, at 9am in Gunners Park in Shoeburyness and anyone is welcome to attend. Pall Mall surgery in Leigh has also signed up along with Audley Mills practice in Rayleigh, Rushbottom Lane practice in Benfleet, and Central Surgery, Southchurch.

More than 800 general practices across the country have now signed up to be a 'parkrun practice' linking with their local parkrun event to promote the health and wellbeing of patients and staff, and create entire communities centered on wellness and affording people the opportunity to take more direct control of their physical and mental health and wellbeing.

Parkruns are volunteer-led 5k events that take place each Saturday morning across the UK and are open to walkers, runners and volunteers of all ages and abilities. Parkruns are socially-focused with the emphasis on regular participation rather than performance. The aim is to get as many general practice staff as possible to pledge in advance, to join thousands of walkers, runners and volunteers at parkrun events across the UK on the same day.

The GP parkrun pledge day is the first event of its type, and builds on the success of last year's celebration across hundreds of parkruns to mark the NHS's 70th birthday. That day saw more than 146,000 people take part in parkrun, with a 14% increase in the number of participants who were inactive when they registered and 9,000 people participating for the very first time.

On Saturday, 1 June, general practice staff across the country are being encouraged to pledge to participate in a parkrun event and also to bring their patients, family and friends along to walk, run, volunteer or spectate.

It is hoped that this special day will raise awareness of parkrun across the health sector and help promote sustained participation by those who are least active or have health conditions.

Dawn said: “I started running five years ago to improve my fitness and weight and it was a challenge to myself to run a half marathon in my 50th year, and I have done many more since, also completing a marathon or two. Running makes us feel healthy and fit. When we first started park run there were barely 100 participants we now have in excess of 500. Quite an achievement. Dr Marasco has also participated, as well as Lucy another practice nurse at the surgery. During my daily work I advise patients on healthy life styles and promote parkrun”.

Tricia D’Orsi, NHS Southend and NHS Castle Point and Rochford CCGs Chief Nurse said:

“Inactivity is a leading cause of premature illness and death in the UK, and GPs and their teams play a key role in empowering their patients to get more active and improve their health. Thousands of GP practice staff up and down the country are encouraging patients to take part in parkrun to help prevent, treat or improve common conditions such as anxiety, depression, diabetes, cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure. Parkruns provide an accessible, unintimidating local opportunity for patients and staff to increase their activity levels, and have fun doing it, all in the great outdoors – and for free."