Exercise - could a parkrun be launched in town?

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When I was in Hucknall last week, I was saddened to see the Annie Holgate athletics track just a weed-ridden piece of land – the state would indicate it has been like that for a good few years, I suppose. You would think that local authorities and education authorities would recognise the value of such facilities for not only the physical activity/sports benefits, but the public health benefits that they could provide – if managed properly. They just do not seem to understand, or just ignore, the role of encouraging everyone to take healthy levels of ‘aerobic’ physical activity, and the positive impact that has on virtually every aspect of health. It’s just preventative medicine in action!

The track obviously had poignant memories for me, from school activities/sports days, to inter school athletics matches, to personal training for local road races, and even as a venue for the running and cycling events of the 1983 Hucknall ‘Superstars’ Competition, held over Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd October. That was six days after I had won the Hucknall Mini Marathon. However, I only finished runner-up in the ‘Superstars’ to a much younger, and very talented 800m runner Richard Harley,but it was a very enjoyable event. I just get the impression that Hucknall is missing out on the benefits that organised community physical activity can offer, meanwhile GP surgeries just become clogged up with mostly preventable lifestyle diseases, leaving those who really need care short of resources. One initiative to get involved in, that would really get things going, is parkrun. Perhaps the Dispatch could be the catalyst to making this happen in Hucknall, and encouraging the community to participate in something that is regular, healthy, free for all, and fun, and owned by their own volunteering. Check out www.parkrun.org.uk. It’s probably the best buy in public health at the moment (without any cost!) You just need a few solid citizens who believe enough in the value of physical activity to get it up and running. Momentum will do the rest. Today we had 332 taking part in Weymouth (in recent weeks between 350-450), achieving personal goals and doing something positive for their health. It’s infectious!

Kevin Archer

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