PRIS­ON­ERS ON THE RUN

Athletics Weekly - - Dip Finish -

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

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