A group of patients from Brook Ward, an in-patient care setting for men with mental health difficulties, joined together with staff to complete a timed 5km run at West Park in March.
The run, which is held weekly on Saturday from 9.00am, is coordinated by local volunteers and completely free to enter. It is open to people of all ages and abilities, from beginners to running experts and everyone in between.
Speaking after the park run Esther Hendriks, Staff Nurse said: “It was a great day.
“The park run had a really friendly and supportive atmosphere. It wasn’t so much a race as such but more for people who want to go out on a Saturday morning, run at whatever pace they can, have fun and interact with others.”
Richard, who is a service user on Brook Ward said, “The community run was an invigorating and moving experience. It was good to be part of something that is for all of the people of Wolverhampton.
“I will be doing more running when I leave hospital,” he continued.
Wayne Thexton, Psychologist, said: “The feedback from our patients is that they really appreciate the introduction of the park runs as part of their recovery journey. Quite a few people are hesitant about getting involved for the first time, so it helps to have a welcoming atmosphere such as the one we found at West Park.”
“Outside of the physical action, patients are benefitting from increased community participation as the activities help to provide coaching around anxiety management and goal-setting.”
“In the near future, we will be adding to this sort of activity with the staff and women patients of Dale ward.”
The weekly running event is held at parks across the country - including at Walsall's Arboretum, and at Cannock Chase.