Meet the running Mayor of Worksop who is pounding the pavements to improve mental health and air pollution

A new Running Mayor of Worksop is pounding the pavements in a bid to encourage residents to ditch the car and jog in an effort to improve mental health and air pollution.

By Kate Mason
Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 7:30 am

Chris Johnson is one of a new network of Running Mayors from all across the UK appointed by Runner’s World and the RunSome campaign.

Mr Johnson, a primary school teacher at Sparken Hill Academy, is hoping to use his new position to promote running as an alternative to jumping in the car, for leisure and sport and to improve mental health and air pollution.

The 42-year-old, who is also event director at the Junior Parkrun in Worksop, said: “Worksop has a fantastic running community and I wanted to make sure the town was involved in this campaign.

Worksop Running Mayor Chris Johnson pictured with daughters Lily (12) and Summer (10)

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"I didn’t want Worksop to miss out on this chance so when I read about it in my Running World magazine I applied, not because I think I’m some kind of beacon for running in the area but I thought it was a great opportunity for Worksop to be involved in something that can make a real difference.”

Mr Johnson is now keen to hit the ground running and is planning meetings with local organisations including Bassetlaw Integrated Care Partnership to try and promote running in the region.

He added: “It’s not about running for the sake of it it’s all about helping people incorporate running into their daily routine, and making running more convenient and accessible, whether that’s running to the shop or walking to work and then running home, we’re not trying to turn everyone in competitive runners but even a run or jog once a week instead of jumping in the car, it all helps.”

The new Running Mayors provide a face and a voice to champion running in the place they know and care about.

As individuals and as a network the Running Mayors will make the case to city leaders and mayors for why runners need to feature in their planning and design of places and services, not least in terms of active travel.

High profile campaign supporters include five-time Olympian Jo Pavey, who said: “I’m thrilled to be involved in the RunSome campaign and to support Running Mayors.

"Encouraging people to make some everyday trips in an active way is great for both health and wellbeing and the environment.

"During these difficult times for everyone, it is also even more important to promote the massive benefit that running can have on our mental health.”

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