Any runner will tell you that training doesn’t just improve bodily fitness, it helps balance the mind as well. Physical exercise produces endorphins, the feel-good hormones which, in chemical terms are peptides which activate the body’s opiate receptors, causing an analgesic (calming) effect. Which is why, in plain English you feel so good after a run. Added to which, the knowledge that you’ve actually honoured the contract with yourself to go for a run today makes you feel even better. Good for us. Actually, as a lapsed, formerly bad Catholic, I only go for a run because I feel so guilty if I don’t that I feel bad for the rest of the evening. (I’m so stiff in the morning nowadays that the prospect of running before at least mid-afternoon invokes images of Peter Crouch doing his robot-dance).
When this subject was being discussed in a US online running forum some months ago, I noticed that Ray Flynn, still Irish national One Mile record holder after all these years(1982), responded as if to imply that if runners hadn’t noticed the feel-good effect by now, what were they doing lacing on a pair of trainers. In other words, it’s a given. Yet, obviously not for some people; especially those with more serious mental health problems; which is why England Athletics is backing a World Mental Health Day (October 10) initiative called #RunAndTalk.
There was already a series of #RunAndTalk events in February this year, in support of Time to Talk Day which included around 150 organised runs to support mental well being through running. According to EA, ‘During the week of 6th-12th October 2018 we’re encouraging people to run one mile or further and to have a chat with friends, family, colleagues or other runners. This can be done at a time and location of their choice or by joining one of the organised runs at an England Athletics club or RunTogether group.’
It’s easy to be blasé or dismissive about initiatives like this in an era when Donald Trump is effectively running a #FuckYou campaign against the rest of the world.
But #RunAndTalk looks like a good antidote to an attitude like that…
To join a #RunAndTalk organised run visit- www.runandtalk.co.uk
Join the conversation on social media using #RunAndTalk.