An NHS worker who found running a lifesaver during COVID-19 lockdowns is encouraging people to join their local parkrun on Saturday July 8, as part of NHS’ 75th birthday celebrations.

Katrina Wilson, who works for NHS Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, joined Manor Fields parkrun in Whittlesey in 2018 when she wanted something to help with her physical and mental health.

Initially daunted by the thought of serious runners, she soon found parkrun a welcoming place for anyone who wants some fresh air on a Saturday morning and to run 5k at their own pace (and with their families, friends, buggies and dogs).

NHS staff, volunteers, and local people and communities are encouraged to ‘parkrun for the NHS’ at parkrun events on Saturday July 8 or junior parkrun events on Sunday July 9.

‘Parkrun for the NHS’ is an opportunity for parkruns and their local communities to acknowledge the huge contribution that the NHS makes to the health of the nation and celebrate all the staff and volunteers, past and present, who have made the NHS what it is.

Katrina said: “I started going to parkrun before the pandemic, but going for regular runs around the local recreation ground during lockdowns, really was a lifesaver for me.

“I feel so positive about parkrun and the way it can for boosting physical and mental health in people, and it’s all free!

“If you don’t want to run, then they always welcome volunteers to marshal helping to run the parkrun each week.

“For anyone who’s not sure about going to a parkrun, my advice would be, come along on July 8.

“You don’t have to be the fastest or the best, but you will find lots of friendly people who love/hate running just as much as you do." 

Geoff Howes, joint event director at Manor Field Whittlesey parkrun, said, “On July 8, we are celebrating 75 years of our brilliant NHS at our parkrun, please come along and try the Manor Field Whittlesey parkrun on this day.

“It is a completely free community event every Saturday at 9am where you can run or walk 5km around our pretty park in an encouraging atmosphere and where there is no pressure to compete or to speed up.

“If you would prefer not to participate, you can always join our team of volunteers, each week at the Manor Field we have a team of 20 - 25 volunteers who marshal and manage the event.

“You will always be very welcome at the Manor Field Whittlesey parkrun. It is an event run by the community for the community."

To find out more and to register visit

When you register, you’ll be given a bar code which allows you to see your times each week either by email or on the parkrun website. This way you can monitor your progress and see your improvement.