PRISONERS ON THE RUN
PARKRUN PUTS A NEW SLANT ON THE IDEA OF ‘DOING YOUR TIME’
NMATES in a Cumbrian prison took part in a parkrun last weekend as part of a new initiative that aims to help law-breakers with their rehabilitation.
A category C prison, HMP Haverigg is the first to hold an event within its walls but about half a dozen other prisons across the country are said to be interested in holding one, too.
Parkrun’s head of health and wellbeing, Chrissie Wellington, said: “In taking the pioneering and bold step of developing the inaugural parkrun on an HMP site, we are offering prisoners, their families and prison staff the opportunity to reap the wide-ranging benefits of regular, enjoyable, social and safe physical activity and volunteering opportunities.
“The prisoners themselves will help to deliver the events every week, providing an empowering sense of responsibility and ownership.
“Although there is no one silver bullet that can be deployed in the battle to prevent offending and re-offending behaviour, we feel that parkrun can be a unifying force for good in the desistance from crime and changing lives for the better.”
Parkrun was approached by the prison earlier this year and the Black Combe parkrun, named after a large hill which can be seen from the prison, held its first 5km event last Saturday.
John McAvoy, a convicted armed robber who became a sponsored Ironman triathlete and advocate for the use of sport for rehabilitation, added: “I was labelled one of the most dangerous prisoners in the country, so if I can change my life through sport, why shouldn’t every one of the other 90,000 prisoners in the country be given that chance, too?”
Parkrun benefits law-abiding and law-breaking citizens alike