We’re delighted to announce the return of our #RunAndTalk Week for 2021 – in partnership with Mind, the mental health charity. We’re now calling on clubs and RunTogether groups to pledge to host a run for this year’s campaign!
#RunAndTalk Week will once again place a focus on improving mental wellbeing through running – encouraging people to help break the stigma around the subject by meeting for a run and discussing mental health.
This year’s #RunAndTalk Week will take place from Monday 20 to Sunday 26 September – to coincide with World Gratitude Day on Tuesday 21 September. After the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, it only seems right that we take a moment to consider and talk about the positives in our lives and the things we’re all grateful for.
Statistics show that one in five adults have recently experienced depressive symptoms compared to one in ten before the Covid-19 pandemic began1. Mind’s latest research suggests two thirds of adults (65%) and more than two thirds of young people (68%) with mental health problems say their mental health has got worse since the first national lockdown2.
It’s amazing how much better people can feel by having a chance to #RunAndTalk. From Wednesday 21 July, clubs and RunTogether groups are asked to pledge online (rather than register runs as in previous years) – committing to host and self-promote an organised run of one mile or further during #RunAndTalk Week in September.
Clubs can organise a #RunAndTalk Week run for whoever they wish. This could be existing members, previous members who may have lapsed during the pandemic and are looking to return, and/or new participants.
Any clubs or groups pledging to get involved will need to promote their organised run and can download free promotional assets, such as posters and social media imagery, via the England Athletics MarketingHub or RunTogether MarketingHub. There is also an option to pay to order printed posters and large selfie frames (perfect for photography and social media activity).
From 20-26 September, everyone taking part will then be encouraged to share their #RunAndTalk Week activity and stories on social media – tagging us in so we can share and engage.
Organised runs should be led by a UKA-qualified leader or coach (or teacher if at a school) – with Mental Health Champions joining in from clubs or RunTogether groups who are already part of our wider #RunAndTalk programme. Many clubs and groups decide to add an additional social element to the end of the run – providing more time for people to chat and enjoy the company of others.
Liz Purbrick, Inclusion Manager at England Athletics, said: “England Athletics is really excited to see #RunAndTalk Week back this year. Our clubs and RunTogether groups have worked really hard to support the mental health of their members over the last 18 months and we hope that #RunAndTalk Week will be a chance to re-engage with members who have stopped taking part over the pandemic but also to take time to think about what we are all grateful for and, in doing so, #RunAndTalk for better mental health.”
Hayley Jarvis, Head of Physical Activity for Mind, said: “Given how much the pandemic has affected people’s mental and physical health, there has never been a more important time to be looking after both, which is why we’re delighted to support England Athletics and the #RunAndTalk initiative. We know that physical activity can be particularly important for people with mental health problems, as a way to break up racing thoughts and reduce feelings of stress. It can also reduce the risk of depression by up to 30%. We hope that initiatives like #RunAndTalk can encourage more people to get involved both to support their own mental health, while also meeting others in their local community and having fun.”
How can you get involved and when?
- From Wednesday 21 July, England Athletics partners, affiliated clubs, RunTogether groups and other organisations with a UKA qualified leader or coach should pledge to host a run via the form on our website. Only one pledge should be submitted per club/organisation/group. They can then make plans to host their run before promoting their run to members and/or the wider local community. For more information on organising a #RunAndTalk Week run download our #RunAndTalk Organised Run Information document.
- Partner, clubs and groups hosting a run can then start to promote their run and can login/sign-up to either the England Athletics MarketingHub or RunTogether MarketingHub to access a range of free and low-cost promotional assets including templated press releases, posters, social media imagery and selfie frames. Additional assets will also be added nearer to #RunAndTalk Week including social media imagery and copy specific to World Gratitude Day.
- RunTogether groups may like to schedule and tag their run/s happening between 20-26 September as a #RunAndTalk Week run via the RunTogether website to help people find details of their run. Add a tag at the bottom of the page when setting up a new run or editing an existing run by clicking the #RunAndTalk checkbox (*please tag the run as well as the session).
- Individuals can then join a run being hosted by a club, organisation or RunTogether group near them during #RunAndTalk Week between 20-26 September.
- Groups of friends/family/colleagues can also choose to go on their own runs, if they are unable to join an organised run, and join in the conversation on social media.
- Everyone can share information about #RunAndTalk Week on social media to encourage people to take part using #RunAndTalk @EnglandAthletic (Twitter) @EnglandAthletics (Facebook/Instagram) or @RunTogetherSocial (Facebook) @RunTogether_ (Twitter/Instagram).
- For more information about #RunAndTalk Week, and our wider #RunAndTalk programme, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
1 Statistic: Q1 2021 Office of National Statistics
2 Statistic: Mind (2021) Coronavirus: the consequences for mental health. London: Mind. Available at: mind.org.uk/coronavirus-research