Dr Lennane tells us the story behind the event, and why he was so passionate about creating a parkrun for the local community to enjoy and benefit from for years to come.
Our town has the same problems with diabetes, overweight and lack of activity seen throughout the UK, and as a practice we’ve always been interested in social prescribing and finding alternatives to medication.
Although there is an active rowing club and a ramblers group, as GPs we didn’t have particular links into these, and we wanted to find ways to make exercise easy to access for our patients. We see a lot of problems with loneliness, often contributing to poor health and healthcare attendances, and the community spirit aspect of parkrun really appealed.
A GP friend in Brighton had been telling me about the parkrun she attends and I was interested in whether we could get something going in Ross. Despite having never voluntarily run anywhere, I’d started doing couch to 5k and was surprised to find myself enjoying it.
I posted a question on the town’s Facebook page and was pleased to see the level of interest and find Nigel and Cat, who already had a plan and an idea for a course by the riverside. Other members of our local running club got involved, and we soon had an excellent core team in place.
We advertise parkrun on the reception screen and have been encouraging patients to attend, with positive results. Given my interest in improving mental health, I’m particularly keen to encourage volunteers, as it’s an excellent way to spend time with others, and can help to build up confidence for people not used to running. Ideally the marshalling points would each have two volunteers, allowing the chance to chat.
Such has been the success in such a short space of time, the next step will be developing a junior parkrun in the town, and building on the success of parkrun to encourage our patients to get active
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