Special parkruns to mark the 75th anniversary of the NHS will take place across Northern Ireland next month.
Oscar winner and parkrun volunteer, James Martin and Department of Health Permanent Secretary Peter May joined hundreds of runners at Stormont at the weekend to officially launch the 'parkrun for the NHS'.
The NHS 75th anniversary parkruns will be held across Northern Ireland on Saturday 8 July. Junior parkruns are also taking place at a smaller number of locations on Sunday 9 July.
Speaking at the launch, James Martin said: "I regularly volunteer at Queen's parkrun and it was an honour to be at Stormont parkrun to help launch the start of NHS 75 anniversary celebrations. parkrun is inclusive for all as it doesn't matter what your ability is. It was great to see so many people taking part and enjoying the sunshine."
Department of Health Permanent Secretary Peter May said: "I was very pleased to help launch the 'parkrun for the NHS'. This is a significant milestone for our health service and provides us with an opportunity to recognise and acknowledge all those who have played a part in our NHS over the last 75 years.
"I would encourage everyone to come and join us on the Saturday 8 July whether you volunteer, walk, jog or run. This is a wonderful opportunity for people to come together and be active outdoors, while recognising and celebrating the incredible contribution of the health service and to thank and support our HSC staff."
Event Support Ambassador for parkrun and student nurse Anne Smith said: "It was a pleasure to be asked to attend Stormont parkrun, one of the four launch events for parkrun for NHS, celebrating the NHS's 75th birthday. parkrun encourages communities to come together outdoors, to walk, jog, run or volunteer and improve their health and wellbeing. There is no time limit, no one finishes last, and everyone is welcome to come along. parkrun for NHS's 75th birthday will be an opportunity to encourage more people to come out on 8th and 9th July and get involved in their local parkrun events to celebrate the work of NHS staff and volunteers as well as the contribution the students make."
Visit Parkrun's website to find your nearest parkrun location.
Activities and events to mark the 75th anniversary of the NHS will be taking place across the UK, including here in Northern Ireland. In addition to the parkruns, the George Cross medal is currently on display in the Ulster Museum, and many buildings, historic monuments and other high-profile sites across Northern Ireland will 'light up' blue on the evening of 5 July, the date marking 75 years of NHS service.