A nationwide series of #runanadtalk events, targeted at improving mental wellbeing through running, have been announced by England Athletics in support of ‘Time to Talk Day’ on Thursday February 1.
Taking place throughout the week of January 27 to February 2, the #runandtalk campaign encourages people to run a mile or further as they chat with friends, family, colleagues or other runners. This can be done at any time or location, or via one of the many events organised by local RunTogether groups, road running and athletics clubs. Local #runandtalk runs can be found via the MeetUp app or website.
Time to Talk Day, launched in 2014, brings the nation together to get talking and breaking any silence around mental health problems. Previous #runandtalk events took place in October 2017, in support of World Mental Health Day, with around 100 organised runs to support mental wellbeing through running.
Running has been shown to provide notable mental health benefits with an England Athletics survey, released in November, revealing that running in a group makes 90% of people happier and 74% of runners saying running is good for their mental wellbeing.
Despite all the mental health benefits of physical activity and running, those with mental health problems can find it difficult to get started for a number of reasons, from negative body image and lack of self-esteem through to practical reasons such as having no one to go with, or not knowing where to get started.
#runanadtalk is supported by mental health charity Mind and a network of over 420 volunteer England Athletics Mental Health Ambassadors. The volunteers are active in affiliated running clubs and registered running groups across England and support runners who are experiencing mental health problems. The support available includes helping people to start running, get back into running, or continue running, as well as to improve the mental wellbeing of their existing members.