This morning MPs and other Parliamentarians from across the UK joined top NHS clinicians and parkrun leaders for a special run to celebrate the NHS’s 75th birthday.
The event, spearheaded by Nick Smith MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on parkrun, saw 22 MPs and a Peer, from a range of political parties, run around St James’s Park.
In welcoming all those who took part, Nick Smith MP, said “It’s great that MPs from across our country have come out and taken part in this fun activity today. parkrun is itself a brilliant public health initiative that encourages physical activity and good mental health in support of our wonderful NHS. Its emphasis on volunteering makes it a real community institution. I’m glad we could all come together and run in celebration of our NHS’s huge 75 year milestone.”
These words were echoed by Professor Sir Stephen Powis, National Medical Director at NHS England, who said “We know the NHS is the institution that makes our nation most proud to be British and, on the day it turns 75, I was delighted to join MPs from across the UK as they donned their trainers to take part in this special run to celebrate all it has delivered for us over that time and to thank its staff and volunteers, past and present.”
Dame Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England, was the official starter of the 4k run, which finished at the St James’ Park cafe. The mood was upbeat, and all participants spoke of the importance of being active and socially connected as a
way of nurturing the nation’s health and reducing pressures on the NHS.
This was one of a number of physical activity events taking place to mark the 75th birthday of the NHS.
This weekend sees parkrun and junior parkrun events across the UK hosting ‘parkrun for the NHS’ celebrations. This initiative was launched with a fanfare last month, and has the backing of health leaders, sports stars and other celebrities, including tennis legend, Sir Andy Murray, Olympic Gold medal winning athlete, Dame Kelly Holmes, decorated Welsh footballer, Helen Ward, TV
doctor, Hussain Al-Zubaidi and Oscar winner, James Martin among many others.
Tens of thousands of people are expected to walk, jog, run or volunteer at over a 1,000 parkrun and junior parkrun events across the weekend, many for the first time. Participants are being encouraged to wear NHS blue or fancy dress to mark the occasion.
Highlighting the importance of the partnership between parkrun and the NHS, parkrun Founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt said “Being active, with others, is so important for our health and wellbeing, and I encourage everyone to head down to their local parkrun or junior parkrun event on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 July and take part in this fantastic celebration of the NHS, and of togetherness. Bring your friends, your colleagues, your family members and let’s make this a birthday celebration to remember!”