Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Running behind bars

Last weeks Athletics Weekly reported prisoners participating in the first of the weekly parkrun events being held within HMP Haverigg a Category C prison in Cumberland.  The idea that sport (and voluntary roles involved in parkrun) positively impact upon inmates' physical and mental health, leading to self confidence, improved mood and stress reduction.  If Haverigg parkrun is a success then the initiative could be rolled out across the country.

Although this may be new to UK prisons, Oregon State Penitentiary in the US have ran (no pun intended) a monthly race series from March to October since the 1970's.  when American running legend Steve Prefontaine started coaching a group of inmates.  The series consists of seven 5K's and 10k's (run concurrently) and one half marathon.

These are both examples of organised events held with the specific purpose of aiding prisoner rehabilitation.  Delve a little deeper though and there are examples of individuals taking it upon themselves to run whilst being detained.

There is the case, for example, of Charlie Eagle who ran a solo ultra marathon of 217km (135 miles) within the prison walls of Berkley Federal Prison in West Virginia.

Even way back in the 19th Century, George Wilson (The Blackheath Pedestrian) whilst in Debtors Prison at Newgate Prison, Newcastle upon Tyne, successfully walked 50 miles in 12 hours over a tiny circuit within the gaol.
George Wilson
The Blackheath Pedestrian

No comments: