For those of you who missed it, it’s a must watch on BBC Iplayer. ‘Mind Over Marathon’ is a two part documentary where ten individuals who all live with mental health issues are trained to run at the London Marathon. Supported by the royals, the charity behind the programmes concept, ‘Heads Together’, is aimed at bringing awareness to the stigma around mental health.
We see Rhian, a mother of two who lost her baby son and husband just 5 days apart, Claudia who suffers severed OCD and depression and Jake who struggled to get out of bed everyday his depression was so severe. These were just three individuals who chose to share their stories with the nation and train for something many dream of. What links these 10 people together aside from suffering with mental health issues, is that none of them were runners before. It was all completely new and out of their comfort zones.
You yourself might not currently consider yourself a runner but that’s not to say, like these brave individuals, that you can’t become one. There really is no age limit on a being a runner! Running anywhere can be liberating and empowering but for us, London is the ultimate runners playground and its not insignificant that it is the London marathon which the individuals in the show are training for. Due to its sheer size the London marathon must stick to roads that can take the weight of the 38,000 runners that partake annually, but marathon aside London is a treasure trove for runners looking for adventure. With its mix of parks, back alleys, wide and crowded streets and dainty path ways weaving in and out of places like Notting Hill. There is so much to explore and so many great experiences to be had that benefit ones health, both mental and physical.
From the ten who began training at the start of the programme, eight make it across the finish line overcome with emotion at the journey’s they have been on. What is so clear from the outset when we see them all meet for the first time, is that the key factor to their success is that they have each other.
Secret London Runs isn’t just another running tour organisation. We have plans to establish ourselves as exactly that kind of community that enables those wanting to be a part of something and be active, with a monthly social event. We are an open organisation where anyone of any age, race, identity can come and be a part of something challenging and fun. Getting out and about, seeing and learning about this wonderful city and in a safe and friendly environment.
Whatever your individual challenge is, Mind Over Marathon demonstrates just how running activities and a support network can have a truly positive impact on individuals. So we want to give a massive round of applause to Heads Together, The BBC and the incredibly brave individuals that took part. We might be called secret London runs but we are not a secret – come and join in the fun!