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Special Ipswich parkrun will celebrate 70th birthday of NHS

PUBLISHED: 13:41 08 June 2018 | UPDATED: 07:41 09 June 2018

Runners taking part in a parkrun at Chantry Park, Ipswich Picture: SIMON PARKER

Runners taking part in a parkrun at Chantry Park, Ipswich Picture: SIMON PARKER

Health workers in Ipswich will swap their scrubs for running gear today as part of a nationwide celebration of the NHS.

Ipswich Hospital chief executive Nick Hulme will open the event Picture: GEMMA MITCHELLIpswich Hospital chief executive Nick Hulme will open the event Picture: GEMMA MITCHELL

The town’s 5k parkrun in Chantry Park is one of hundreds across in the UK to dedicate this weekend’s event to mark the health service’s 70th birthday.

The initiative, known as ‘parkrun for the NHS,’ aims to recognise the contribution the NHS has made to the nation.

Staff from all parts of the NHS, from doctors to domestics and paramedics to porters, will join runners, walkers and volunteers at more than 300 local parkruns.

In Ipswich it will be a double celebration as today will be the 300th parkrun, which takes place every Saturday from 9am and is free.

The NHS special will be kicked off with a speech by Ipswich Hospital chief executive Nick Hulme, and participants are encouraged to dress up as health staff.

Ipswich parkrun event director, Graham Rodgers, said: “We would love to see as many NHS staff as possible on the day, to walk, run, volunteer or simply receive a well earned round of applause for the incredible contribution they make to our community.

“If there’s one thing we know how to do at Ipswich parkrun it’s how to host a party – and everyone is invited.”

Nessie Thorpe, sister for outpatients and radiology at Ipswich Hospital and member of the Ipswich parkrun core team, has organised the volunteers for tomorrow’s event, rallying around 40 staff and patients from the hospital to help marshall.

She said: “We hope it will encourage more people to exercise and take responsibility for their health and because we are health professionals people might ask us questions. It’s also to get more people involved in the parkrun and for the community to know it takes place every week and it doesn’t matter if you walk, push a pushchair around, walk the dog or run – everyone is involved.”

Speaking about why the NHS is so valuable, Ms Thorpe said: “Every single one of us wouldn’t be here without the NHS because we were all born in the NHS and they take care of all of us whether you work for them or not.”

In August 2017, parkrun conducted a UK-wide survey of health professionals and 63% said they prescribe parkrun in some form, while almost nine in ten (88%) said they would consider referring patients to parkrun.

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