The new Mental Health Ambassador programme, launched on Tuesday by England Athletics and supported by the charity Mind, has recruited 128 people from 91 affiliated athletics clubs across the country, to do a bit of running and talking. This volunteer programme links to #runandtalk, a campaign to improve mental health through running in England.
As one who self-prescribed a regular jog to alleviate mid-life blues and turned into an athletics evangelist, I can run with that. The talking part shouldn’t be a problem. As a coach, I’ve found that keeping up a constant chatter as your feet patter helps you gauge your companions’ breathing (as a rule of thumb, a curt one-word answer, often accompanied by a death stare, signals a certain level of discomfort).
Just running out with friends on a weekend morning, chat becomes therapeutic. There’s something about the rhythm of the feet, the looking ahead, not at your confidante, while banging on about the week’s troubles and triumphs, that helps the conversation to open up. We joke that we’re putting the world to rights, but often we’re simply splurging out all our preoccupations as we jog along. Read more