Face of Covid health briefings Sir Jonathan Van-Tam joins Parkrun charity

File photo of Professor Jonathan Van-Tam during a Covid briefing  (PA Wire)
File photo of Professor Jonathan Van-Tam during a Covid briefing (PA Wire)

Sir Jonathan Van-Tam, who became known for leading Covid pandemic briefings, will join the trustees of running charity, Parkrun.

Professor Van-Tam, known as JVT, earned a name for himself by using football analogies during nationally televised briefings on the spread of the virus.

He had held the role of Deputy Chief Medical Officer until March last year, and is currently the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Nottingham University.

He said he was “delighted” to be joining the charity, which organises community runs in more than 2,200 locations across 22 countries.

“Parkrun is a fantastic organisation which has done so much to promote free, inclusive, friendly participation in sport, exercise, movement and mental wellbeing and I am delighted to be joining it this year as one of its trustees,” said Sir Jonathan.

“As a public health professional, I am passionate about supporting initiatives which focus on the benefits that an active lifestyle can bring to our physical and mental wellbeing both in the short term and in helping us to live longer and healthier lives.

“I look forward to contributing to the charity’s continuing success.”

Professor Van-Tam was knighted for his services to public health last year.

He was supposed to originally receive his knighthood from Prince William at an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle, but could not go as he caught Covid. He instead collected the gong at a later date.

Parkrun started in 2004 with just 13 runners and 5 volunteers in the capital’s Bushy Park, but now attracts hundreds of thousands of participants to its weekly park runs.

Its global CEO Russ Jefferys said: “It has been incredibly humbling to see the calibre and passion of the individuals applying to join us.

“I’m looking forward to welcoming them all to the team and working with them on this next exciting chapter for parkrun.”