RUNNERS in Basingstoke will be among hundreds across the country celebrating 70 years of the NHS.

The initiative, known as ‘parkrun for the NHS,’ aims to recognise the contribution of the NHS to the health of the nation and inspire people to take part in physical activity and volunteering.

On Saturday, 9 June participants at Basingstoke parkrun are being encouraged to dress up as doctors, nurse and healthcare staff to take part in the weekly run, with a number of staff from Basingstoke hospital expected to take part on the day as well.

The run will take part at Basingstoke parkrun’s weekly location of the Crabtree Plantation with anyone who wants to take part, whether that be walking, jogging or running, being invited to take part.

Basingstoke parkrun event director Avi Govind 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 Basingstoke parkrun it’s how to host a celebration - and everyone is invited.”

“Basingstoke parkrun is a friendly, welcoming event that provides a perfect opportunity to get out in the fresh air to socialise and be physically active in a supportive environment.”

With growing levels of obesity in adults and children being a major health issue for the NHS, the ‘parkrun for the NHS’ is a great opportunity to get outside and get some exercise.

In August 2017, parkrun conducted a UK-wide survey of almost 2,000 healthcare professionals. More than three in every five (63 per cent) responding revealed that they prescribe parkrun in some form, while almost 88 per cent said they would consider referring users to parkrun.

Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Taking part in an NHS70 parkrun is a fantastic way to recognise the NHS in this special 70th year. By staying fit and active, you’ll be giving the National Health Service and our local hospitals in Basingstoke, Winchester and Andover a great birthday present.

“We are encouraging any staff who would like to take part in this event to do so and use this as an opportunity to run, jog or walk alongside members of the community we care for every day. I’d like to thank everyone involved for organising this fantastic celebration of the NHS.”

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