Dr Ai Lyn Tan and Dr Michael Mansfield, were the driving forces behind a recent link-up between two Leeds-based parkruns, and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.
We asked the parkrunning doctors to tell us more about the day, and the impact on their fellow healthcare professionals…
When the topic of parkrun suddenly appeared in our Chief Medical Officer’s newsletter, she was strongly promoting parkrun, and wanted to hear about experiences, it was an opportunity too good to let go!
We told her we had already put ourselves on the hospital’s Medical Grand Round agenda to speak about ‘Prescribing physical activity and parkrun’ to the doctors and healthcare professionals at the hospital, and we wanted to do more to help raise awareness of the physical, mental and social health benefits of parkrun for our colleagues and patients.
As a rheumatologist and a diabetologist, and as keen parkrunners, we were already referring our patients to parkrun, and there are posters on parkrun in our out-patient departments.
When our Grand Round talk on parkrun was highlighted in the following issue of the CMO newsletter as inspirational, we didn’t need any persuasion to take the opportunity to come up with an idea to share the joys and benefits of parkrun with the whole hospital Trust.
A parkrun takeover by the hospital staff would help raise awareness about parkrun, and provide newcomers with a taste of the parkrun fun! What is even better would be a double parkrun takeover at the same time by the hospital staff!
The Leeds Hospitals are conveniently situated in close proximity to a number of parkruns, so we decided on two of the nearest parkruns: Woodhouse Moor parkrun – the first parkrun outside of London, and Potternewton parkrun – the newest parkrun in Leeds.
The event had a huge support from our hospital, and was mentioned by our Chief Executive in the hospital’s Team Brief; all staff was informed about the event in the staff newsletter, and the event was advertised on the hospital’s social media and screensavers!
The opportunity for the hospital staff to join in at parkrun aimed to highlight the multiple benefits of parkrun for staff as well as patients. It was also a good moment for staff to express their appreciation for the health benefits parkrun offers to everyone including patients, by ‘giving back’ with volunteering at parkrun.
So on a sunny Saturday 29 June, many of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals colleagues turned up en masse to volunteer, walk, jog and run at Woodhouse Moor parkrun and Potternewton parkrun simultaneously.
It was particularly inspiring to see that a number of the volunteers and parkrunners were first-timers at parkrun, and many enjoyed it so much, they were already planning to return, and even refer patients to parkrun!
The success of the event was marked by being featured in our Chief Executive ‘Start of the Week’ communication and recognition bulletin celebrating successes across our hospital. We believe in the positive impact parkrun can have on everyone.
We have benefitted personally from the weekly events, and have shared parkrun with our patients; now we were able to extend this experience to all our work colleagues!
It was particularly humbling to see many parkrunners appreciating what the NHS does for many, and the NHS recognising the health benefits of a free event like parkrun. Long may that continue…
Dr Ai Lyn Tan (A281764) and Dr Michael Mansfield (A139697)
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