Blaenau Gwent MP Nick Smith is helping an initiative aimed at linking GP surgeries with parkrun events get back on the starting blocks after 18 months of Covid disruption.
‘Parkrun practice’ is a joint venture from the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and parkrun UK which encourages the “prescribing” of parkrun events for patients who would benefit.
Parkrun events in Wales are now back up and running and Mr Smith – a keen parkrunner and also chair of the Parliamentary group for parkrun – was joined by First Minister Mark Drakeford MS, Jo Stevens MP, Kevin Brennan MP and Cardiff Council leader Huw Thomas as well as representatives from RCGP and Welsh Athletics, to relaunch the scheme at the Trelai Park parkrun in Cardiff on Saturday, October 23.
Speaking after running in the event, Mr Smith said: “I’ve been working with Chris Davies of parkrun Cymru and Cardiff GP Dr Rachel Lee to promote parkrun practice in Wales and we thought that this event would be a great way to trumpet its return.
“Thanks to Jo Stevens MP and Kevin Brennan MP for volunteering, to Mark Drakeford MS for getting the race started and Cllr Huw Thomas for running alongside – or more accurately ‘ahead of’ – me. It was a really great morning.”
Before Covid closed down parkrun events across Wales, Mr Smith had been campaigning to encourage GP surgeries in his constituency and further afield to sign up as ‘parkrun practices’.
Mr Smith said: “Becoming a parkrun practice is about encouraging GPs and their staff to feel confident in signposting patients – particularly those who have long-term health conditions – to parkrun events.
“As well as speaking to patients about the benefits of parkrun, a ‘parkrun practice’ can also raise awareness by displaying parkrun ﬂyers and posters, creating a parkrun noticeboard in waiting rooms, displaying information about parkrun on television screens and including a parkrun page on the practice website.
“Parkrun is great way to get started on the track to a healthier lifestyle. You don’t even need to run, many people take part by walking the course.
“Parkrun is free, the environment is welcoming and inclusive and there are so many benefits to be had – not just the physical and mental benefits of exercising but the positive benefits of socialising and being part of a supportive community.”
More advice on ‘parkrun practice’ can be found here: www.rcgp.org.uk/clinical-and-research/our-programmes/clinical-priorities/parkrun-practice.aspx
You can find your local Parkrun event by visiting: https://www.parkrun.org.uk/events