My name is Sarah Byatt and I am the Executive Assistant to the Medical Director at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn. I have worked at the Trust for almost 11 years.
I took part in my first parkrun in March 2013 after reading about it in the local press and hearing people talk about it. I was initially quite apprehensive about going as I thought it was a competitive race for club level runners (which I am most definitely not), but I persuaded a friend to join me for my first visit, and I just haven’t looked back since! I think I might be one of those people who are ‘addicted’ to parkrun and have now taken part in 214 parkruns and Saturdays just don’t feel right without it.
Over the years, I have persuaded probably around 80 different people to ‘just give parkrun a go’, and tell them that if they try it once and don’t enjoy themselves I won’t nag them to go ever again. But I’ve got to say that most of them keep coming back!
I am the Village Sports Co-ordinator for my village in West Norfolk, and I think that might be why Gary Walker (King’s Lynn parkrun Event Director) asked me if I could organise staff from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn to do a parkrun takeover of all volunteer roles at parkrun on Saturday 9 June in celebration of the NHS’ 70th birthday.
Everyone I asked gladly agreed to volunteer, and then the Trust Communications Team provided us with some fantastic NHS70/#TeamQEH t-shirts. Volunteers included consultants, nurses, medical secretaries, catering, finance and the West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group, and the Trust’s HR Director said a few words of thanks at the start before taking part in her 89th parkrun.
The atmosphere on the day was absolutely brilliant. It had been advertised as a celebration of NHS70, and as it was a birthday everyone was encouraged to bring cakes (always welcomed at parkruns!) and to dress up in hospital-themed fancy dress. We had people with pyjamas and plasters on, bandages round heads and legs, stethoscopes round necks, and fancy dress hospital uniforms.
parkrun and the NHS is a natural connection in my opinion as I think exercise and fresh air makes everyone feel happier, healthier and more positive about life. For those people who say they can’t run 5k they don’t need to. parkrun is all inclusive and is for absolutely everyone – walk, jog, or run. And if people can’t do that, then they would be really welcomed to come and help out as a volunteer. It is such a welcoming and friendly atmosphere – not just King’s Lynn parkrun, but wherever I’ve gone as a parkrun ‘tourist’ I’ve found exactly the same welcome.
If you’ve never tried a parkrun, why not give it a go this Saturday?
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