Firstly, a MASSIVE thank you to our runners for all their hard work in training and fundraising. The atmosphere was incredible – we could feel the dedication, support and love.
The L&S Mind RP team managed to raise an amazing £19,846.50 and this is still rising! This is enough to fund two of our peer support groups for an entire year!
Nearly three weeks ago now, we helped celebrate the 10th year of the Royal Parks Half – it took runners on a stunning 13.1 mile route through the capital’s world-famous landmarks and 4 of London’s 8 Royal Parks – Hyde Park, The Green Park, St James’s Park and Kensington Gardens.
Since starting in 2008, there have been over 128,000 runners cross the finish line and over £35m raised for more than 750 charities.
Our fellow runner Tom reveals his experience of the day, oh so poetically
My First Half Marathon
I’ve always rather liked running. From traipsing up muddy hills in tropical Singapore as a kid, to cross country steeple chases at secondary school, to my evening runs after work that take in some of London’s most famous parks and landmarks, it has been a fairly constant feature in my life.
A hopeless sprinter, I’ve always been much better at churning through the kilometres, from 5 to 10 to 12 right up to the 21 I ran for Lambeth & Southwark Mind on Sunday at the Royal Parks Half.
But for me, running hasn’t always been about the exercise or the pleasure of sightseeing on my own two feet.
When I was experiencing mental health issues of my own it was the running, as much as the network of support I could fall back on, which kept me propped up. There was something incredibly cathartic about going out in the evening, taking those feelings and running through them.
So running my first ever half marathon to raise money for a charity that gets out there to provide day to day support networks and sessions for those dealing with mental health conditions was a real privilege. I’m very pleased that my fund raising means others will be able to receive support, and to raise that money for Lambeth & Southwark Mind through running felt rather appropriate.
The race was a reminder of most of experiences of running all rolled into one.
Tracing my favourite routes round St James and Green Park without tourists or traffic. Running with colleagues and feel the elation of seeing the finishing line loom large in the distance. Random encouragement from other runners (giving and receiving).
As my legs are reminding me after the run, pushing myself as fast and hard as I can go. As my split timings show, I’ve still got a lot to learn on pacing. Drinking from an open Lucozade at speed leaves you sticky. Family members randomly appearing on a kerb side to cheer you on won’t get old.
The last 200 metres are so much better than the previous mile. And long distance running is rather like most things in life, incremental and consistent improvements go so much further than an attempt to shoot the lights out at the start or the end of something.
Running is unfailingly honest, only you really know if you gave it your all. And when you do, it’s the best feeling in the world when you see your time appear.
In short, a great experience, for a very worthy cause close to my heart.
Bring on next year!
And here’s a few snaps of our proud champions
Lastly, a message to all our dedicated runners from Ajay Khandewal, CEO of L&S Mind
Excuse me, but I’m feeling a bit emotional this morning.
I can’t quite believe that you – our magnificent Lambeth and Southwark Mind runners – have raised around £20,000. That is just staggering. Can you please give yourselves a collective pat on the back, job well done.I can only imagine the amount of blood, sweat and tears that have gone into the training, the run, and raising the funds. It’s a massive psychological and physical undertaking.
I managed to chat to a few of you on the run yesterday, which made my day. Also I’d like to apologise for the total chaos.
There was no MEGAJENGA meeting place – sorry, my fault. The bag drop queues were three hours long.
Dorothee had managed to lose her entire family before the race had even started. She was so pumped up she couldn’t even remember their names or phone numbers.
Ed was strapped up with last minute blue bandages.
I was too busy taking pictures of porridge and red wine and managed to forget Jack’s race number.
Total pandemonium, utter chaos. This wasn’t the plan, and the race hadn’t even started yet.
In the back of my mind I had a nagging worry about Rachid whose prerace portion of peas didn’t seem enough to get her 500 yards down the road, let alone flying along 13.1 miles.
Despite all this, after spotting our jazzy yellow vests across the sunny green fields and seeing Verity’s unmistakable MIND tattoo on her fist, I knew everything was going to be alright…plus I wore my lucky hat.
I ditched my original plan for 1.29.59 (yes, I know, that was never going to happen, but I enjoy a good day dream) and had the much sweeter pleasure of running with my wife, who ran her first ever half marathon. Chapeau Ninder! I settled into a good stride, enjoying the fresh weather and fabulous crowds.
About mile 6 I stopped to use the facilities in a café and managed to get myself locked into an isolated loo in the basement. My heart rate spiked as I imagined being stuck in there the entire weekend, my screams drowned out by the crowds. I was drenched in sweat as a result of the adrenaline, and after what seemed like an eternity, the café manager finally came to my rescue! After that I was just glad to be out in the open air.
I then bumped into one of our own, Jo, and we had one of those heart-warming-running-conversations – started out as complete strangers, but I now know all about her family, her dreams, her knees and her running cadence.
For the finale, I took my lucky hat off to salute the crowds…and also a salute to you all you amazing runners. Without your support we simply couldn’t exist. None of this work is funded, so your running makes all this possible.
Just last week, a 25 year old woman came into the office and shared that she’d tried to hang herself a few weeks ago. My colleague, Joan, was able to spend time with her and figure out how we could help. We have 20 therapists who give their time freely, often travelling for hours and sitting with individuals, like this women, who may be suffering a great deal. Your willingness to run for us has allowed us to continue providing this unique, free service for another six months. So once again, thank you, from all of us at Lambeth and Southwark Mind.
Some big thanks from me.
Nadia for doing all the painstaking admin, t-shirt design, registrations and running. Olivia for cheering us all home at the end. Ninder for her heroic running and fundraising. Teddy and Chloe for the after party feast and who were instrumental in really getting behind us in year one. Anna Stokes and the Royal London family for their generosity and invaluable partnership. Ed, Fergus and Dorethee for showing additional support to the incredible work they’re already doing on behalf of L&S Mind. Friends at Ritzy Cinema, South Bank University and all the other teams and individuals that have supported us.
From all of us here, we hope you’re still wearing your medals proud!
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