My aim this year is to go one better and raise further funds and awareness for these charities, plus the amazing Dorset Mind. I hope also to continue to highlight issue of mental health by undertaking challenges fuelled by my personal experience and desire to make a difference. The next of these challenges is to run the Tour de France in 70 days!
Money raised for Livability from Marathons for the Mind will go towards Livabilty’s ‘Flourish’ project at their wellbeing discovery centre in Dorset. ‘Livability Holton Lee’ is set in 350 acres of beautiful Dorset countryside. From gardening therapy, arts and ceramics, bird watching, walking and accessible camping, visitors can benefit from an inclusive and supportive community. The centre is part of the national charity Livability – the disability charity that connects people with their communities.
The Flourish Programme
Holton Lee run 'Flourish' - a gardening therapy programme for people living with mental health and disability. People learn new skills, build confidence, make new friends and have fun. 98% of people that attended Flourish in a year reported an increase in skills and social connections.
What they do
MIND provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. MIND campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.
Because of MIND, millions more people have access to advice and support thanks to our information and services nationally and locally, in England and Wales. We're building on change, but we know there is much more to do.
Over more than 60 years MIND has worked to improve the lives of all people with experience of mental health problems. Through public campaigns, government lobbying and more that 1,000 services their local minds have delivered in communities across England and Wales. They have touched millions of lives.
Local minds support over 375,000 people across England and Wales. Their services include supported housing, crisis helplines, drop-in centres, employment and training schemes, counselling and befriending.
We will raise awareness within general and specific communities about mental ill health. That’s to say, it will EDUCATE people about symptoms – what they are, what to expect and how to spot them. They will educate people about what they can do when they experience symptoms either themselves or someone they know.
We will CHALLENGE the stigma and inequality of mental ill health so that neither prevents people receive the information and support they need.
We will PROMOTE the ethos of RECOVERY from mental ill health by educating people about recovery. They also provide responsive and safe support services for all communities to assist them in their own recovery.
WHAT RUNNING MEANS TO ME
Running has become an ever more increasing part of my life, it has brought some of my happiest memories. Running has allowed me to travel the world, make some amazing friends and achieve things I never thought possible. However it has also, in many ways, become a double edged sword.
After the breakup of a relationship back in 2015 the need to question certain parts of my life made me realise that my focus and determination to constantly improve as a runner was almost all consuming. Running over 100 miles a week and often training twice a day had taken me to a point where it was impacting my life for the worst and it was simply no longer fun.
The constant need to over analyse my performance, trying to work out when I could fit in my next run, thinking about exactly what and when I needed to eat, and the overwhelming feeling of guilt that would come if I missed a session, had got too much. This is I’m sure what many runners or sports men or women experience. It was ok for me when I was able to switch that focus on and off, but I had lost the ability to do just that.
Over the last few years, I have had periods where I’ve felt I've achieved the perfect balance and others where I felt like I was returning to my old self. However, I can honestly say I am now enjoying my running again, and with it, the possibilities that it can bring. I am learning to remember exactly why I started running in the first place. I have a new understanding of what it gives and what it takes away, and am able to balance things a lot better. As an extremely competitive person I will never lose that desire to improve but I am more able to step back and see the bigger picture and better enjoy my successes and move on from my failures.
The challenges I undertake are my way to move my focus away from running quickly to running for a cause. It is a way to challenge myself in a new way and use my running ability to try and make a positive difference. It is also my way of showing to myself, and hopefully others, that it is ok to admit when things have gone too far and that it is possible to change.