Back in December 2017, I decided I wanted to challenge myself. But I also wanted to inspire others and raise money and awareness for a charity. Mental health has always stood out to me and having read many reports on the increase in suicide rates made me even more determined to raise awareness… and hopefully some money. I’m also a firm believer that movement is the best medicine. I discovered RED January and decided to get involved in conjunction with the amazing mental health charity Mind.
January 1st, 2018 is where my journey began! I set myself a target of running three miles every day for 31 days. All I had to do was run! Rain, wind, snow, dark mornings, dark evenings. I was out.
Getting others involved
Many of my colleagues joined me for a lunchtime or after work run, so I decided to set up the Monday Night Run Club. So many people supported me and came out running with me, sharing comments like “wow I feel amazing after that” and “I was so stressed out before that run, now I feel great” or “That’s cleared my head”. This made me so happy and gave me the determination to carry on. Hearing how much people benefitted from a run! One person even said that they saw running as free therapy, which I love!
When I first started, I was running three miles here and there at best. Running was my nemesis. I was always stressed out that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with people, I would be too slow and get left behind. I didn’t want anyone to feel like this, so my motto became “it’s not about how far or how fast, it’s just about getting out!”
I continued to encourage people to get out and run. I had people running with me who had never run before, people who ran marathons, it didn’t matter. By January 31st I had raised £500. I felt amazing and I had got a huge amount of people running. Was I ready to stop? No. I felt good and decided that as long as my body said yes, I would carry on running every day.
On Saturday September 26th, 2020 I hit 1000 days! Am I ready to stop yet? Absolutely not. I want to carry on raising awareness for mental health and continue to encourage people to get out and move.
Highs and lows?
I have to admit, I can’t think of a particular low, but there have been so many highs. I started running with a girl in August 2019 (a beginner who had never run before). We run together 3-4 times a week and she’s gone from 0 miles to smashing out 7-8. “It’s changed my life!”, she said.
I can’t believe the buzz I get after each run. I’ve met people who have started running and it has improved their mental health and their fitness at the same time. These are all HUGE highs for me.
What was the toughest?
Val D’Isere in March 2018 when I was on a snowboarding holiday. Getting up at 5.30am when it was -19 degrees outside to go for a run before a full day of snowboarding was a challenge, but it didn’t stop me. I was even running behind the piste-basher after one metre of snowfall, which was… interesting. My iPhone even froze one morning!
Or climbing Ben Nevis with my team and having to run down. My legs were in bits the day after (and the day after that!), but I still got out and ran and it always felt amazing!
What keeps me going?
Inspiring and helping others. Movement really is the best medicine, and if I inspire one person who might be having a down day to get out and move, that’s what keeps me going. Not forgetting those endorphins. Wow are they powerful and so underrated. You never finish a workout in the bad mood!
When will I stop? When my body says so, but for now I’ll keep on running every day.
As we say here at adidas, ‘through sport, we have the power to change lives’. That’s something I truly believe in.