ICGP join parkrun Practice Initiative 2020

09 January 2020

ICGP join parkrun Practice Initiative 2020

Dear Colleague,

Happy New Year and welcome to 2020, the start of a new decade.It's the time of year when we all think about healthier lifestyles and getting more exercise and fresh air.

To support you and your patients the College is collaborating with parkrun Ireland to enable practices to become a parkrun practice. You may be aware that parkrun promotes and organises free 5k runs or walks all over the world. In Ireland there are parkruns every Saturday at 9.30am at 117 venues all around Ireland. Anyone can take part by walking, jogging, running or volunteering or coming to watch and support. The parkrun practice initiative takes this one step further - it is a framework whereby GP practices (GPs and their teams) encourage their patients to join them at local parkruns via practice posters and one-to-one encouragement.

We all know exercise and fresh air, in a supportive and friendly community setting, is really beneficial. Exercise can help prevent heart disease, stroke, and has proven benefits for anxiety and depression as well as reducing the risks of dementia and diabetes. It's social prescribing at its best.

Saturday 11 January at 9.30am 

If you wish to become involved then we would request that you undertake the following:

  1. Join a parkrun this Saturday 11 January at 9.30am at a local venue - find the venue at here. You will need to register beforehand to get a barcode to bring along.
  2. Encourage your staff to come too.
  3. Share a photo of you (and your team) with us by email to media@icgp.ie
  4. Or share a photo of you at the parkrun on the morning on social media and tag us please;

Next step - become a parkrun practice

Click here to learn more, and to download the toolkit for becoming a parkrun practice. Many of our colleagues already members of parkrun.

Dr Deborah Ryan, Meath Faculty of the Irish College of General Practitioners

"Working in General Practice you see for yourself the effects of inactivity and social isolation. parkrun provides a wonderful opportunity for everyone to get exercise and social involvement in a welcoming and friendly environment. Having first-hand experience of parkrun makes it easier to encourage patients to attend. Multiple studies have shown the benefits of regular exercise in improving health and longevity for the population as a whole, and parkrun is a wonderful free resource that can help all of us achieve our exercise targets."


Dr Gerry Sullivan, Mary Street Medical Centre, Clonmel

"I did my first parkrun more than three years ago. I wasn't fit, and it was a cold wet day, but I felt incredible afterwards. So I tried it again, and I kept going back. I've now done almost 50 parkruns. It's free and there's a fantastic sense of community and friendship. You can walk, jog, run or volunteer. Exercise can prevent heart disease, stroke, and has proven benefits for anxiety and depression, as well as reducing the risk of diabetes and dementia, which are two massive problems in Ireland. We encourage our staff and patients to take regular exercise and parkrun is the ideal way to do it. It's fun, it sets you up for the weekend, and there are always plenty of smiles!"


Dr Liam Meagher and Dr Lucia Gannon, Killenaule, South Tipperary

"We were introduced to parkrun in 2017 by my brother, also a GP, and have now participated in over 40 parkruns. We recommend parkrun to patients and friends because they're fun, friendly and free. You can walk, jog, run or volunteer. You can be active and social - two very important contributors to physical and psychological wellbeing."

I, myself, have signed up and have become a parkrun practice as I feel this encourages the promotion of a healthy lifestyles and provides socialisation opportunities for everybody and helps to improve the physical and social and psychological wellbeing of my patients and staff. I joined my local Lees Road parkrun in Ennis, Co Clare two months ago. I was welcomed and encouraged by the team of volunteers and by my fellow parkrun participants. I found a supportive environment, with an equal mixture of personal challenge and pleasure being out in the fresh air. All shapes and sizes, all ages, all levels of fitness were involved and welcomed and the last person across the finishing line was cheered on and encouraged even more wildly than the first person past the post. Parkrun is for everybody. I have grown to love it. I encourage you to sign up and become parkrun practices. It will make an enormous difference to your own health and wellbeing and for your staff and patients. Tell your patients about the benefits of exercise and social participation.

Sign up today on the ICGP website click to become a parkrun practice or email the ICGP parkrun co-ordinator Mary Penrose at mary.penrose@icgp.ie

Many thanks and here's to a healthy 2020.

Best wishes,
Dr Tony Cox