Ipswich parkrun to go pink on April 14 for eating disorder cause

Ambassadors of the This Girl Can campaign outside Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LU

Ambassadors of the This Girl Can campaign outside Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

An Ipswich park will transform into a sea of pink this weekend for a special run to raise awareness of eating disorders.

Runners taking part in a previous parkrun event at Christchurch Park. Picture: SIMON PARKER

Runners taking part in a previous parkrun event at Christchurch Park. Picture: SIMON PARKER - Credit: Archant

Saturday’s Christchurch Park 5km parkrun is being taken over by the This Girl Can Suffolk ambassadors for a one-off charity spectacular.

Donations will be collected for Beat, which supports people affected by eating disorders, and participants are encouraged to wear pink to raise awareness of the cause.

This Girl Can is a nationwide campaign that aims to break down barriers that stop women and girls being active.

There are a group of female ambassadors pushing the message in Suffolk, including Alex Oliver who lives in Ipswich.

Ambassadors of the This Girl Can campaign outside Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LU

Ambassadors of the This Girl Can campaign outside Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Mrs Oliver, 29, battled bulimia when she was at high school in Felixstowe, which she said was brought on by bullying from peers.

She said: “It got to the point where I wasn’t really eating anything and when I did eat I would have jars of apple sauce to give me energy then throw it up later on.

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“I stopped and got out of it after I got out of the environment of bullying and girls that make you feel that you aren’t good enough.”

Mrs Oliver joined the This Girl Can campaign after discovering running and enjoying the improvement it made to her mental and physical health.

“I have never been a sporty person at all then I started running,” she said.

“Running is such an escape to clear your mind and reshuffle your thoughts and when you see that having an impact on your physical health it tends to make you feel better mentally.”

Mrs Oliver said she got into jogging through the parkrun, and she encouraged people of all abilities to try it this weekend.

She added: “I think parkrun is a brilliant place for anyone to start exercise, especially girls and women. It’s a real community feel.”

Mayor of Ipswich, Sarah Barber, is a This Girl Can ambassador and she will be welcoming people across the finish line on Saturday.

Lea Denley, who works for Suffolk Sport and leads the This Girl Can campaign in the county, said: “We are hoping to get a few more people regularly active and show that parkrun, although it has a competitive side, is for everyone and they can walk, jog or even take the dog.”

The free event will start at 9am is open to men and women.

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