Health and wellbeing volunteering: The power of parkrun

Written by

07 Apr 2022

07 Apr 2022 • by RCGP

Being a volunteer Ambassador for Health and Wellbeing at parkrun for 4 years has been transformational for me, my staff and my patients.

As many of you will know, parkruns are free, weekly, timed 5km events happening every Saturday at 9am in over 2,200 places in the UK and 23 different countries. Everyone’s welcome to come along to walk, jog, run and volunteer. There are nearly 300 Junior parkruns on Sundays too. parkruns are a wonderful opportunity to forge connections within communities whilst doing some physical activity in green spaces – what’s not to like? They’re organised by the community volunteers, for the community.

My involvement with parkrun has enabled me to meet so many wonderful people in my community. I’ve encouraged over 100 of my patients to come down to my local parkrun in Southport and I’ve seen lives transformed – hypertension controlled, mental health improved, confidence and self-esteem grown, simply by coming along to parkrun. I’ve made great friends and bumping into patients has helped me appreciate them as people, set in context rather than simply as “patients”.

The parkrun practice initiative launched three years ago and is a wonderful way for practices to link with their local parkrun. There’s more information on the parkrun practice webpage.

About the writer

Dr Simon Tobin, Norwood Surgery, Southport