Fareham Crusaders #runandtalk
Fareham Crusaders invited all their members to take part in a social run to support Mental Health Day.
Their club video on youtube created a huge amount of interest and over 100 runners met up in Fareham Leisure Centre on Tuesday evening to #runandtalk.
The club has two England Athletics Mental Health Ambassadors, Louise and Trevor who worked with James Musselwhite (club secretary) to plan the evening. An evening which James later described as "the most important evening in the history of the club."
The Leisure Centre soon became a sea of hi-viz yellow as members of all ages met up in the café as Louise encouraged runners to write up their #runandtalk messages. The event was a great catalyst for many who had dropped out and wanted to get involved again.
James explained the format for the evening, a change from the various ability groupings to an inclusive run incorporating several stops to change your running partner and get to know someone new. The beginners peeled off to cover a shorter route while the main pack talked solidly around the 3 to 4 mile route discussing the benefits running brought them after a stressful day at work, caring for an elderly parent, a busy day with small children, recovery from mental illness, from injury…
Chatting over cake at the end of the run, Trevor described the evening as "a dam-bursting moment, giving permission for people to be able to talk to each other." He and Louise now plan to make formal links with the mental health organisations in the town and the Fareham Crusaders will be planning similar events in the future.
Congratulations to Fareham Crusaders from England Athletics for surpassing the aims of the #runandtalk campaign by getting people talking about mental health, for sharing their experiences and removing stigma, for raising awareness of mental health problems and by supporting people experiencing mental health problems to be physically active through running.