Parkrun organise free, weekly, 5km timed runs around the world. They are open to everyone, completely free of charge, and are safe and easy to take part in.
These events take place in pleasant parkland surroundings and crucially, they encourage people of every ability to take part.
After a chat with a patient who takes part in Parkrun every Saturday, I was keen to see what all the fuss was about. I ran the 5km at Eaton Park in Norwich, where approximately 450 people attended at 9am on a chilly Saturday morning! The atmosphere was fantastic with heaps of encouragement from spectators and fellow runners. The most pleasing thing to see was the total mix of ages, from children, to the more elderly, and even Mums with prams, and dog walkers. The pace varied from those chasing very impressive personal bests; to those walking around the course having a chat (I was somewhere in between….).
I have since been encouraging plenty of my patients to seek their local run/walk, as I was really impressed with the lack of intimidation for first time attendees (which can understandably be a deterrent for some seeking to start exercise), the lovely social aspect (you can grab a coffee and a chat after) and also the fact it provides an opportunity to begin to exercise at NO COST. The volunteers who run proceedings are also fantastic. They are very helpful, and provide your time on completion, which can be great for motivation and goal setting.
We know how important exercise is for general health, physical and psychological, and this is a great way once a week to meet with friends and get the weekend off to a healthy start.
If you are currently experiencing pains which you feel are restricting your ability to take part in such an event, we are available to help in clinic. Be it shin splints, knee pain, or even if you are just eager for advice on how to get going, get in touch!
Hopefully see you at an event soon.
For more information and to get registered, visit www.parkrun.org.uk/.