As part of Mental Health Awareness week the Foundation particularly wants to highlight the positive impact running can have on mental health and wellbeing. One of the motivations behind organising our flagship Lincoln City Half Marathon event was the known impact we could have on the physical and mental health of so many individuals throughout their training and on the event day itself.
Running has been something many people have turned to during the current Covid-19 lockdown restrictions and today we share the inspiring story of Thomas Dunning and how running has played a significant role in his own mental wellbeing...
Thomas started running roughly two years ago in what he describes as ‘a last-ditch’ attempt to help his mental health. Since lacing up his running shoes, Thomas has become an advocate for mental health and is passionate about breaking down the walls of mental health stigma.
Thomas uses social media (under the profile @mental_health_runner) as a platform of inspiration for those who may be struggling with their own mental health, has a website and has recently published a book entitled ‘Surviving the War Against Yourself.’ Thomas is also the Community Champion for RunTalkRun in Lincoln, an initiative which offers individuals the chance to run and discover mental health support in a safe and accessible environment.
Through participating in the Lincoln City Half Marathon Thomas hopes to help other people see physical activity as a means to help their mental health; ‘I run with no times in mind because I just want to enjoy what I do and show others how to run happy!’
Happiness is a key element of running for Thomas and he is currently enjoying his training in the lead up to the Lincoln City Half Marathon event. Thomas follows the mantra ‘there is no point in doing it if you are not having fun, whether that is slowing down longer runs, taking more breaks, it doesn’t matter, as long as its fun and happy that’s all that matters’
To keep motivation levels high Thomas recommends either listening to a running playlist or listening to different podcasts – he is currently enjoying Brain Cox’s ‘Infinite Monkey Cage’ to break out a mental sweat!
In running, Thomas has found something that has enabled him to be kinder to himself and has consequently helped to maintain his own mental wellbeing. During the current Covid-19 outbreak it is important to remember not only to look out for others, but also yourself. Being kind to yourself may include things such as prioritising time for you, appreciating doing something you enjoy, or reflecting on your achievements however small they may seem - or perhaps it is lacing up your trainers for a run like Thomas.
Have you experienced the benefits running can have on your mental wellbeing yet? Why not join Thomas and see if running can help you to feel happier in yourself.
Find out more about the Lincoln City Half Marathon here
Previous articles in this series for Mental Health Awareness Week 2020:
Monday 18 May 2020 – On Your Side
Tuesday 19 May 2020 – Be Kind to Yourself
Wednesday 20 May 2020 – Spreading Colleague Kindness
Thursday 21 May 2020 - Feel Good Inside and Out