We'd like to introduce our team of Miles For Mind ambassadors for 2019 who all have a reason to be a part of our virtual event and who want to highlight that #MentalHealthMatters.
Name: Michelle Mortimer
When did you start running and why?
I've started running twice over the years. Initially, I was in my early twenties and it was all about losing weight to try to make myself feel better about myself. I actually cried on my first run because it felt so hard and I couldn't breathe. Not surprisingly, losing weight still didn't make me feel that good about myself, and neither did running really because I was doing it for the wrong reasons. So after a few half marathons, I quit running for a while. I started again just before I turned 30, as more of a healthy lifestyle choice, to want to move more, and I discovered the endorphin buzz that time. I haven't stopped running since!
What's your favourite ever running experience?
Even though I am a trail runner at heart, I think the running experience that will stick with me forever is my first marathon at London. I will never ever forget the noise of thousands of people shouting my name, or my husband waiting for me (for 40 minutes!) on The Mall so that we could finish together. Magical.
Who most inspires you in the world of running and why?
Many people inspire me, from Jasmin Paris who recently won the Spine Race, to people turning up for my beginners sessions feeling nervous because they have never run before. Anyone getting out of their comfort zone and achieving more than they thought possible inspires me, whatever their ability. That's the beauty of running - it's for everyone.
What one bit of advice would you give to a new runner?
Run for the right reasons and be true to yourself. By that, I mean it's easy nowadays, with social media, to feel like you have to run at a certain pace, or constantly be striving for further and further distances, but just run for yourself. Don't look sideways, just enjoy it. Practically speaking, don't rush. It should take years to condition yourself properly to marathon distance, and I see a lot of new runners rushing to complete a marathon in their first year, which can cause injury ultimately. So don't feel pressured into anything, just run for you, and if it is enjoyable, you will naturally stick with it and improve.
What does the link between running and mental health mean to you?
Personally, I need running just to be myself. I do rely on it to keep me happy. Without running, I feel like I am half the person I am because running lifts my spirits, boosts my energy levels and I can honestly feel those endorphins fizzing in my bloodstream after a run.
What do you hope to get out of being involved with Miles For Mind?
Participating in Miles for Mind reminds me how important running is for mental health, and I hope to raise awareness and initiate conversations about the link between the two.
For anyone who is considering signing up for Miles For Mind this May, entry is now open here and we'd love you to join in and raise money and awareness for the charity Mind!
Click on the logo below to visit the Miles For Mind 2019 page!