Ajay (our Director), Olivia (Head of Development) and Megan (Fundraising and Digital) look back on last weekend’s sunny fun run in Peckham Rye Park
Congratulations heroic runners of Peckham!
I am the man in the cow boy hat who was high-fiving you and asking you, “Where are your guts?!” One distraught woman muttered “Not helpful!”, but hopefully I provided some distraction from the pain and heat for some of you!
When I’m not wearing the cowboy hat, I’m the Clinical Director of Lambeth and Southwark Mind. We depend on community fundraising through events like these to do our work.
So thank you to our team of runners, who raised £600 for us – wow! That will help us to fund free weekly psychotherapy for one person in very serious difficulties for six months.
We still have places for the Royal Parks Half in October this year, so we’d love to hear from you if you’d like to take part. We know that it’s hard to ask friends and family for money, so we’d only like you to raise £200 for a place in this awesome race (lower than any other charity place available). Click the link at the bottom of this page to find out more!
I went along on Saturday to the Peckham 10k race in Peckham Rye Park – not to run, of course (running actually makes me cry!) but to represent Lambeth and Southwark Mind and chat to people about who we are and what we do.
It was a really warm day, so I was particularly glad I didn’t have to run! My thoughts were with the runners, hoping they would not get unbearably hot.
But let’s not complain – it was lovely that the sun was out. The atmosphere was amazing, and there was a real sense of community.
I handed out water to the runners as they went past, talked to people after the race about our organisation, and gave out some beautiful cupcakes supplied by Ms Cupcake in Brixton.
Well done to all the runners who took part, and thanks especially to those people who ran for Lambeth and Southwark Mind. Your support is invaluable!
Megan – from sport-phobe to 10k-er!
I have a confession to make. Against all the odds, I’ve become a running convert.
I signed up on the spur of the moment to take part in the Peckham 10k. “It won’t be too hard!”, my lovely colleagues said to me. “It’ll only take you an hour!” “There’ll be free cake!!”
As a full-time fundraiser for our charity, I thought it’d look a bit rubbish if I turned down my first opportunity to persuade my own friends and family to donate to us. So, despite never having survived a run longer than ten minutes before, I bit the bullet and went for it.
Training started out hard: predictably so for a lifelong sport-phobe like me. I felt shattered and self-conscious on my first few tries, and incredibly tempted to throw in the towel.
But after a while, I started to pay a different kind of attention to what I was doing. I started to notice when I was getting out of breath, where my legs were feeling tightest, which rhythms I was able to keep going at best. It felt almost like mindfulness, this process of listening to my body’s responses to the exercise.
Not every practice was fun, or an improvement on the last – there were many times where I’d go out wanting to complete a certain amount of laps, feel too exhausted to do it and give up. But I noticed that, more often than not, my mindset going into a run would predict how well I’d do. If I felt excited, driven, determined to do six kilometres rather than five, then I’d be able to do it.
It was this mindful state which made the whole experience so empowering for me. I was boosting my own confidence with every kilometre down, and I knew I’d really be able to do it on the day.
The day of the race was beautiful, sunny and buzzing with energy from the hundreds of runners who’d signed up to take part. I got to meet the rest of our L&S Mind team, including our friends from creative design agency Paper Dog and from Dulwich Runners. Some rallying words and icebreaker activities (including hugging each other) from Ajay to start the race, and off we went!
I remembered to start out slow, frustratingly slow, in order to preserve my energy for the whole race. I was determined not to stop or walk. The first few kilometres were a little tough, not least because of how daunting the distance ahead suddenly seemed. But I just kept going.
It was amazing to feel genuine rushes of energy from the cheering passers-by, especially from all the tiny kids dotted around the track with their arms stretched out to be high-fived! Just like in training, if I thought to myself “I can do this”, my muscles responded in agreement, spurring me on further and further. Once I realised I’d got over the halfway point, the runner’s high had fully kicked in, and I felt incredible.
But not for long. The sun had been beating down all morning, and despite thinking I’d hydrated enough before starting the run, by 7km I realised how fatigued I was feeling. I had no choice but to stop and walk, and I was crushed. I wasn’t going to be able to run the whole thing without stopping –perhaps I wasn’t as strong as I thought – I definitely wasn’t going to finish in the 75min goal I’d set for myself. I thought I’d failed. But I kept walking anyway – I had to at least make the finish line.
After about a kilometre and a half, I’d had enough of watching runner after runner zoom past me, and I decided to give it one last go. I managed to slowly pace myself against a runner in front of me, focusing all my attention on my breathing, my legs, my heart. I stopped worrying about my time, and about what the others in my team would think of my effort. To use a wise phrase of our colleague Amo Khera’s, I was running in myself again.
Up the incline onto Straker’s Road to finish, and I knew the end was finally close. Honestly, I thought, “I’ve had enough of this!” Somehow I found it in me to sprint as fast as I could to the finish line, proudly finishing in 200th place and with a time of 1:07:22.
Olivia and the rest of the team met me with hugs and congratulations, and I thought, “this has really been worth it.”
Want to join in? Be a part of our team at the Royal Parks Half Marathon 2018!
Megan joined the team as a fundraiser in 2017 from a background in journalism, editorial and retail. She now manages L&S Mind’s website, social media and community fundraising events, as well as trusts and grants fundraising.