More than 146,000 people got involved in parkrun events around the UK on Saturday 9 June as parkrun and the NHS joined forces to celebrate 70 years of the health service.
135,318 walkers and runners completed a parkrun, 8,942 of those were completing their first-ever parkrun, thanks to the support of 11,188 volunteers.
The aim of ‘parkrun for the NHS‘ was to recognise the contribution of the NHS to the nation and to encourage more people to get involved in physical activity and volunteering.
Staff from all parts of the NHS, from doctors to domestics and paramedics to porters, joined the runners, walkers and volunteers at hundreds of parkruns around the country. Thousands of participants chose to attend in fancy dress or wore signs declaring why they are proud of, and thankful to, the NHS.
When comparing the parkrun participation figures with the same weekend in previous years and how they compared to attendances in the previous four weeks, parkrun for the NHS saw an increased attendance of +14%, when in previous years that weekend has seen a reduction in participation of 9%, suggesting that more than 16,000 additional walkers and runners participated nationally on 9 June.
The figures also demonstrate an increase of +14% when it comes to people taking part who identified as being inactive at the point of registration, which means that 981 additional previously inactive people took part on 9 June.
There also appears to have been a positive impact on first-time participants. The second Saturday in June has historically seen 15% fewer first time runners/walkers than the previous four weeks. However, parkrun for the NHS saw an increase of +37%, suggesting 2,462 additional first-timers participated nationally.
parkrun UK’s Head of Health and Wellbeing Chrissie Wellington said: “After months of preparation it was absolutely fantastic to see the success of the parkrun for the NHS initiative and I would like to personally thank everyone who took part. The participation figures alone give cause for celebration, however they only really tell half the story.
“As important is the genuine and successful joint working between parkrun and the NHS at national and local levels, the awareness raising about parkrun beyond our traditional audience, and the inspirational personal stories of those whose lives have been impacted so positively by the NHS and by parkrun. We want to build on this initiative to ensure a long-lasting benefit to the public health sector and to parkrun of engaging people in free, weekly physical activity and volunteering that is accessible to all.”
Ian Dodge, National Director – Strategy and Innovation, NHS England, said: “We are delighted with the number of people who took part in parkrun for the NHS, whether as runners, walkers or volunteers. As the NHS turns 70, the event sent a powerful message to NHS staff about the strength of feeling for them and the service. The NHS’s birthday is also an opportunity to remind people about the importance of being active and events such as parkrun are an easy way for them to do that.”
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