Strabane is set to feature in a new documentary due to be broadcast on BBC One on Monday.
Parkruns have been transforming Saturday mornings since 2004, and with more than 235,000 participants across the world, these popular events bring communities together while inspiring people to improve their fitness.
With more parkruns per head than anywhere else in the UK, Northern Ireland has a growing community of runners, and in a new documentary, double Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes explores the parkrun phenomenon and the associated mental health benefits. In Dame Kelly: The Power Of Parkrun – Our Lives, she leads the charge for a parkrun in Strabane.
Dame Kelly is a parkrun veteran and strongly believes that exercise can positively affect mental health and wellbeing, and running is the simplest way to do this. “For me parkrun is all about mental fitness, physical health and well-being. Making this programme has given me the opportunity to meet so many fantastic people, who perhaps had a lack of confidence or motivation, and I got to be part of their journey,” she said.
In this film, Dame Kelly meets Matt Shields, manager of parkrun Ireland, who is working to assemble a team of volunteers to run an event in Strabane, and find a venue in a town that has no park and little green space. With the inaugural park run fast approaching, Dame Kelly visits Strabane to coach and motivate two local runners, Declan Thompson, 48, and Joanne Nash, 34, who are preparing for their first run. Will some expert coaching from Dame Kelly inspire Declan and Joanne to cross the finish line and kick start their own fitness journey? And will Matt find a venue for Strabane’s first parkrun? The documentary is a Below The Radar production and will be broadcast on BBC One, Monday, July 15 at 7.30pm.