Tennis ace Sir Andy Murray has called on people to take part in a parkrun for the NHS to celebrate the health service’s 75th birthday.
The Scotsman, Britain’s most successful male tennis player, is encouraging people to participate in the Parkrun for the NHS and take steps towards a healthier and more active lifestyle.
Tens of thousands of people from across the UK are expected to take part in the parkrun events on Saturday July 8 and the junior parkrun on Sunday July 9.
The 36-year-old said: “The NHS is one of our nation’s greatest institutions and I am honoured to support its 75th birthday.
“Parkrun for the NHS is a great initiative and it’ll be amazing to see thousands of people from across the UK walking, running and volunteering at their local parkrun and junior parkrun events to mark this major milestone in the NHS’s history.
“Our nurses, doctors, paramedics, midwives and all of the other NHS staff and volunteers do an amazing job caring for us and the NHS’s 75th birthday is an opportunity to recognise their hard work and commitment.
“It’s also a fantastic way of encouraging more people across the UK to be active, together in the outdoors, no matter what their age, ability or background.”
This is the second time parkrun UK and the NHS have worked together, with the two coming together in 2018 for the health service’s 70th birthday, which saw more than 146,000 people take part in a UK-wide celebration.
People are encouraged to dress in the NHS trademark blue or fancy dress, with NHS teams expected to take part and be on hand to provide information on the different ways people can support the NHS, such as by joining the NHS Organ Donor Register or by giving blood.
Dame Ruth May DBE, chief nursing officer for England, said: “I’m delighted that the NHS has teamed up with parkrun UK to help celebrate the NHS’s 75th birthday.
“We are encouraging as many people as possible – from local communities to NHS staff and volunteers – to get involved, whether it’s by walking, jogging or running the course, or lending a hand as a volunteer.
“It is a great way to get together and celebrate the NHS for its anniversary but, importantly, a great way to take steps towards a healthy lifestyle too.”
Parkruns are held every week across the country, with thousands of runners, joggers and walkers taking part in the 5km community events every Saturday.
Junior parkruns take place every Sunday in parks across the country and the 2km events are aimed at four to 14-year-olds.
Chrissie Wellington, global head of health and wellbeing at parkrun, said: “We are thrilled to be joining forces with the NHS across the UK to celebrate its 75th anniversary.
“We know that participating in parkrun and junior parkrun is incredibly beneficial to people’s mental and physical health, and best of all the events are local, they are accessible, they are free, and they are fun.
“They’re also there every week, and we’d love to see those taking part continue to join us in the future.
“Parkrun for the NHS is the perfect way for us to increase awareness of parkrun across the health sector while at the same time paying tribute to the enormous and incredibly valuable contribution of NHS staff and volunteers to the health of our nation.”