A rural Staffordshire GP practice has become the first in the area to register with the Parkrun initiative.
Parkrun is a network of weekly timed runs taking place across the country at 9am every Saturday morning. The events are free of charge as long as participants register online.
Ashley Surgery near Newcastle has a long record of encouraging patients to exercise.
Practice Manager Denise Smith said: “As a practice we encourage our patients to improve their health and fitness. In 2016 we launched our Health Walk initiative which has 76 registered patients and undertakes organised walks twice per month.
“Parkrun is being actively promoted by the Royal College of General Practitioners to combat inactivity and we thought it was a natural progression. The feedback has been encouraging as we are the first GP surgery in this area to register and we would like to encourage other surgeries to do so.”
Laura Verrill, a dispenser at the practice, has been the first to participate and will administer the practice’s involvement. She said: “I started running to improve my all-round fitness, but also for stress release, to make new friends and meet new people. It’s a good way to socialise and is also family friendly with buggies and dogs allowed to participate.”
Parkrun are now hoping other GP practices will join them.
Event Director Gareth Copley-Jones said: “We hope to improve health and wellbeing through running, jogging, walking or volunteering.
“Ashley is first GP surgery to be partnered with The Wammy parkrun in Newcastle. We hope to encourage as many local GP surgeries to partner with their local parkrun.
“Whether people want to improve their fitness, make new friends, cope with health problems, learn new skills or simply be outside with others, parkrun has a positive impact on health and wellbeing.”