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Harpenden runners ‘run and talk’ for Mental Health Week

PUBLISHED: 11:00 17 September 2018

RUN Harpenden. Picture: Elisabeth Grover

RUN Harpenden. Picture: Elisabeth Grover

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A Harpenden running group is putting its best foot forward to improve mental wellbeing and break down the stigma surrounding mental health.

Emi Grover. Picture: Elisabeth GroverEmi Grover. Picture: Elisabeth Grover

RUN Harpenden, a supportive coached group for beginner and intermediate runners, will be celebrating Mental Health Week in October with a running, jogging and walking event at Highfield Oval on Thursday, October 11.

The run is part of England Athletic’s #RunAndTalk initiative, which is delivered in partnership with mental health charity Mind.

Athlete Emi Grover, who will take part in the run, is eager to promote positive mental health. She said: “I suffered from severe anxiety and it impacted my life, and that of my family, for five years.

“It started with the anxiety that I would vomit in public or see someone else vomit in front of me, a phobia which is called emetophobia.

“For a period of time I wasn’t able to leave my house or attend my local school. It was a very stressful time so I was educated at home, by my parents and tutors, teaching myself from books and videos.

“I started running last year and now attend my local parkrun every week. Although I feel anxious before every run, I always feel so much calmer and happier after running.

“I have come a long way since the days of not being able to leave the house and I am now passionate about talking about mental health and how to improve by using strategies such as running in your life.”

Mental Health Week takes place from Saturday, October 6 to Friday, October 12, with similar runs held all over the country.

England Athletics mental health champion Andy Jordan said: “Getting started can be a difficult first step for all of us but once we start, we quickly find that running can improve mood, self-esteem and sleep.

“Running has been shown to lower stress, reduce the risk of depression and slow the symptoms of dementia and cognitive decline.

“Take any opportunity you can to start running and, if you already run, take a non-runner friend out with you. They’ll thank you for it!”

The Harpenden run is free to attend and starts at 9.30am.

Participants must sign up in advance at https://runharpenden.run/runandtalk

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