Practices have been encouraged to become 'parkrun practices' since 2018 under a collaboration between the RCGP and the organisers of the 5km events. Around 2,000 GPs took part in parkruns last summer to mark the first anniversary of the partnership.
The organisers of parkrun say more than 1,350 practices across the UK - around one in six - have linked up with their local events.
GPs and staff at practices linked up with one of more than 660 parkruns that take place across the UK each weekend can 'socially prescribe physical activity by referring patients' to the events.
GP link with parkrun
Global head of health and wellbeing at parkrun UK Chrissie Wellington said: 'In 16 months we have seen over 1,350 GP practices link with their local parkruns to increase the health of staff and patients and create positive, supportive communities that are centred on wellness. This partnership shows the immense value of bringing together the health and voluntary sectors in pursuit of shared goals, and we look forward to building on this successful collaboration in future.
Dr Andrew Boyd, a partner at Clapham Park Group Practice, said: 'We have been blown away by the response from GPs and their teams to this initiative. Its success demonstrates there is a growing appetite among GPs to forge meaningful links with local assets and services to help better the health of their patients. I believe the parkrun practice initiative will be a blueprint for future partnerships between healthcare providers and other local community assets.'
Any GP practice can become a parkrun practice - irrespective of whether its GPs are members of the RCGP. Practices that register through the parkrun practice website receive marketing materials to help promote the events.
The initiative encourages staff not only to promote participation by patients as walkers, runners, volunteers or spectators, but also to participate themselves.