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Miles For Mind by Annie Henley

So I’ve been trying to think of the best way to start this post and I really can’t figure out how to begin. Once upon a time doesn’t really cut it, as to be honest it hasn’t really been a fairy tale.

 

I started running a few years ago. I’m not super skinny, I’m not super fit and I definitely don’t run gracefully!

 

One thing I’ve learnt from running is that for me it literally launched me out of my comfort zone! I used to get bullied a lot a school, especially in PE as it wasn’t my strong point, so the thought about wearing “PE” kit again and willingly going for a run sounded crazy to me.

 

The reason I started was because I lost my wonderful Nana to cancer (which ripped my heart apart) so decided on her anniversary to do something to distract myself from feeling uncontrollably sad - and just as it happened the London vitality 10K fell exactly on her anniversary, so I decided to run it for the hospice who looked after her.

 

I did little training, I knew nothing about running, and typically race day fell on the hottest day of the year. However once I started running I instantly fell in love. The atmosphere on the day was incredible and one I will never forget.

 

Crossing the finish line was the most amazing feeling, not only because I had raised money for charity but because I DID IT. I pushed my body/mind and it didn’t fail on me. I’m not ashamed to admit a little proud tear make have rolled down my cheek. 

 

When I started running I was scared that all those bullies from years ago would jump around the corner and laugh at me, so after a few runs when I realised that wouldn’t be the case I started to really settle in and enjoy what I was doing.

 

 

I’ve been through a lot of rough times over the last few years and running has seriously helped me. There is no better feeling when I check my Runkeeper app and see that I’ve beat my PB or ran my furthest distance - it really is one of the best feelings.

 

The other thing which I have fallen in love with is the running community. Not just the person you run past on a Sunday morning and give the runners nod too. But also the epic force that is the social media squad #runr and #ukrunchat. I’ve noticed especially on twitter that you’re not an individual runner, but an army of runners.

 

There’s always someone to pick you up after a bad run, or give you a virtual high five when you get that new personal best.

 

I now find myself craving going for a run, and when I haven’t been for one I start to feel very groggy. 

 

I do a number of charity runs with my running buddy Phil every year and each time I do a run I remember where I was when I started, and how far I’ve come. I also volunteer for Park Run which is one of the most incredible teams of people I’ve met - I would definitely recommend signing up if you want to get into running.

 

Running for me isn’t just a sport, it’s a time to escape, let out some frustration from life and to challenge myself to step out my comfort zone. 

 

It’s probably best pointing out that when I say “running” I don’t mean a full I do a full on sprint, but more of a stagger to the finish line. However,  I’ve also learnt it’s not about the speed or distance you go, but it’s about moving forward - mentally and physically.

 

Running has changed my life for the better. 

 

 

 

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Thanks to Annie for sharing this story. As part of #MilesForMind we want to raise money for Mind and also awareness of mental health issues.

It's OK to have a mental health issue, it's OK to talk about mental health, and it's OK to ask for help.

We firmly believe that running can contribute to a healthy body, and healthy mind and we hope sharing people's stories of mental health and running will inspire others to lace up for better mental health.

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