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Special Parkrun to celebrate GP Practice initiative

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AN assistant practitioner at Folly Lane Medical centre, Warrington will be taking part in a special Parkrun celebrating GP Practice initiative.

Vicky Molphy, who introduced the Parkrun Practice initiative at her practice will be celebrating the first anniversary on June 1 along with GP practices across England.

Vicky said: “I began running park run around 2 years ago with my mum Alison (pictured above), as we wanted to get fitter, which we did. I also found it helped me overcome arthritis which I suffered with from a young age. My mum, having no previous health issues, had a stroke in January last year. Although it took many months for her to recover, the doctors told her that if she had not been so fit from her running at the time, that the stroke could have been fatal or permanently debilitating. She has now made a full recovery, which she attributes in part to her determination to get back to her running. She began running weekly park runs again every week for the last 6 months.

“As I work as an assistant practitioner in a GP practice and advise patients every day on healthy life style and prevention of stroke and heart disease, I felt that by engaging my patients in park run I could help to prevent many more cardiovascular deaths in Warrington. As the park run is free and suitable for all ages and abilities it is the ideal way for people to begin getting back to fitness.’’

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in January of this year and so due to treatment, missed some Saturdays but when I could make it I felt comfortable to just walk or some weeks try a jog as nobody is judged at park run. I am now back to running every week and it is helping my recovery so much.”

More than 900 general practices have now signed up to be a ‘parkrun practice’; linking with their local parkrun events to promote the health and wellbeing of patients and staff.

Parkrun 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. There are currently 620 such events, with about 150,000 people taking part every single weekend. The Warrington event is in Victoria Park.

To celebrate the anniversary of the initiative, parkrun and Royal College of General Practioners  have again teamed up to organise a national GP parkrun Pledge Day.

The aim is to encourage GPs and general practice staff across the UK to pledge, in advance, to join thousands of walkers, runners and volunteers at parkrun events on Saturday 1 June.

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 per cent increase in the number of participants who were inactive when they registered and 9,000 people participating for the very first time.
All the information about the day, including the pledge form, can be found here.

NHS England’s National Director of Strategy and Innovation, and passionate parkrunner, Ian Dodge, is among those championing the parkrun practices initiative and the Pledge Day.

Ian said: “What a start! 800 parkrun practices in just one year is a hugely impressive achievement. It’s more than 10 per cent of the country. If parkrun and the RCGP can keep up this momentum, the majority of GP practices in England will be involved within another four years. And thousands more people would benefit from the green spaces, the fresh air, the exercise, and above all the companionship and sense of community.

“Parkrun is always there for you, every Saturday morning. It first got me into running back in 2006 when it was called the Bushy Park Time Trial. The event on 1st June will be very special, and I’m really looking forward to tying my laces.”

GPs and TV personalities Dr Zoe Williams and Dr Rangan Chatterjee, as well as the Chair of the RCGP, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, are also lending their support.

It is hoped that the Pledge Day on June 1 will help raise awareness of Parkrun across the health sector, encourage practice staff to signpost patients and service users to parkrun and promote sustained participation by those who are least active or have health conditions.

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  1. What a great initiative, I look forward to standing at Mayor’s Corner (1st one you come to) and the last corner to cheer you on again. I really get a buzz from seeing the mas start heading towards me and guiding them to my left for the little loop. The return and then I send them onto the bib bear canal loop. About fifteen minutes later the leaders reappear from in the distance for the last half kilometre and then I point them in the direction of the finish. There are all styles, ages and abilities but it is those that improve each week as well as those pushing themselves that I give the biggest encouragement to and their smiles and thank your are a great pleasure to receive.

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