By: Hilary Murgatroyd
Hello everyone and a belated happy new year to you all. I hope you and your families are all keeping safe and well. We are living in challenging times to say the very least and I for one will be overjoyed when the day comes when we can meet together as a group again.
Some of you may not be aware that I am the Mental Health Champion for the club. The purpose of this role is to ensure all members know that we take our mental health seriously and promote a safe space for members who may be struggling and wish to talk about any worries. Between this and the well-being benefits running itself brings, we have a strong ethos within the club which promotes an empathetic, positive and understanding environment for everyone.
Through our affiliation with England Athletics, Hungerford Hares is a strong supporter of Time to Talk Day which is taking place on February 4. This year’s event focusses on “The Power of Small”. This means that a small conversation about mental health has the power to make a big difference.
Time to Talk is an initiative which was set up to break down barriers towards mental health, promote discussion and remove any stigmas. It is supported by a number of sports organisations including England Athletics and the Football Association.
Clearly, we would have liked to have set up a large group event to promote Time to Talk Day but current restrictions have prevented us from doing so. Instead we thought we would promote by just asking you to think about getting in touch with a running buddy – it could be your usual running partner or someone completely different to see if they would like to go for a run and just ask if they are feeling ok. The important thing is the talking though – so even if you don’t feel like running perhaps just pick up the phone or drop a friend a text or email on the day just to see how they are.
I’ll give you an example of how this simple act worked for me. I spent Christmas without my family this year for the first time ever as travel restrictions to Scotland were introduced right before the festive period. I was feeling very low and, to be honest, quite lonely. Then our Run Leader Andy texted me to say hi and suggested a run on Christmas Morning. It was the best thing I could have done. My mood lifted, I felt energised and I am very grateful to him for him getting in touch.
So please do have a think about getting out there with a buddy on 4th February and feel free to get in touch with our run leaders, including me, who are also always there to provide any coaching and encouragement as well as lots of chat.
It may still be January but there are signs of spring emerging – I spotted some snowdrops peeking through the snow the other day – and I know I wasn’t seeing things because Mandy saw them too! So who knows, this may be the time to reset your running resolutions and get back out there – or at least text or phone a friend and see how they are.
Whatever you are doing on February 4th, stay safe, stay well and stay in touch.
Can’t wait to see you all again.
Mental Health Champio