Why I’m Running Half A Marathon For Mental Health – James Harper

Why I am Running

For Mental Health

 

“I started running towards the end of last year. My reason back then was that I’d spent far too much time indoors working and parenting indoors and become even more unfit than usual as a result! It was also the opportunity to meet up regularly with a friend – something else the pandemic had prevented.

At first, I could only run for about 500 metres before needing to stop otherwise I felt like I would die; my poor fitness and lack of lung capacity meant I was so out of breath after a very short distance. The friend, Chris, I was running with is a proper runner, in that he regularly runs marathons, and I began to regret my choice! However, being outdoors and time spent with a friend proved enough incentive to keep me going, and by the end of winter I was going out in-between weekly meet-ups to try to complete a 3-mile loop without needing to stop – the secret turned out to be running so slowly that I barely passed people who were walking 😊. And once I could I realised my fitness had improved far more than I realised.

From this, for some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to go for an ambition back in my twenties, when I thought running a half-marathon sounded like fun. With the Manchester half marathon not taking place until October, it seemed like a great idea at the time…however, I didn’t anticipate having COVID and others in my household the same! However, back to running in August and following a specific plan, and after a number of weeks something strange happened. Instead of counting down the minutes and seconds until the end of a run, I started to find running enjoyable – or at least the shorter ones anyway!

Running the Manchester Half Marathon for Beacon was always my intention, and over the last few months it’s been a key incentive for me to start a run when I don’t really want to. Over time, the benefits of running have become so clear; I feel so much better physically, it’s a fantastic way to de-stress, and another way to connect with people. I also love its simplicity and openness: all you need is a pair of shoes and wherever you are in the world you just start moving, and there’s no need to be fast, you just go at your own pace.

With launching Beacon’s Race for Mental Health campaign, it’s made even more sense. Mental health, well-being, and resilience have never been more important than now, and Beacon’s work to improve these for people of all ages is critical. I am so proud of the team at Beacon and it’ll be great to put on a Beacon T-shirt on Sunday and represent the charity at the Manchester Half.”

You can sponsor James, Beacon’s amazing leader, who is taking one for the team and running for #TeamBeacon in the #RaceforMentalHealth campaign and by doing so you will be supporting support our mental health service,  here