Photo: @chubs2rmarathonlife. Image courtesy of Instagram.

Monday Mood News: Runner Starts Initiative to Raise Awareness for Mental Illness

March 20, 2017

Running is one of those activities that a lot of individuals use to feel good both physically and mentally. It’s not uncommon for many to lace up their shoes and run off the blues, but there’s one amazing individual who decided to use running not just to escape the blues, but to help others potentially escape it as well: we’re talking about the UK social movement #whatifIrunwithyou.

Started by Andy, an Australian runner, the story of how it began and what it’s come is quite extraordinary. It started when he was out for a 6-mile run and spotted a woman struggling through the last part, feeling dejected and defeated. He offered to run with her for the final part as a show of solidarity. After he spotted another girl sharing on Instastories about how she’d broken down 2 miles into her training run along with her struggle with depression and anxiety, he went out that very night and ran two miles for her. He went onto Instagram to explain that he and a friend would be running the marathon that weekend, and would be wearing white shirts emblazoned with the names of all the people who were struggling with mental illness as a means of solidarity and building awareness. According to an article in Women’s Running, “Since that marathon, more than 1,300 posts have been shared with the hashtag #WhatIfIRunWithYou, and runners from across the UK have written the name of a person on their top or the back of their hand.” If you search that hashtag on Instagram, you will be overwhelmed with the support. We’re hoping to add a little more.

He went onto Instagram to explain that he and a friend would be running the marathon that weekend, and would be wearing white shirts emblazoned with the names of all the people who were struggling with mental illness as a means of solidarity and building awareness. According to an article in Women’s Running, “Since that marathon, more than 1,300 posts have been shared with the hashtag #WhatIfIRunWithYou, and runners from across the UK have written the name of a person on their top or the back of their hand.” If you search that hashtag on Instagram, you will be overwhelmed with the support. We’re hoping to add a little more.

We salute Andy and all the runners in the UK who are carrying the torch, using the hashtag and supporting the cause to raise awareness for mental illness. For all the miles they run, we hope we can count on figurative miles of progress when it comes to defeating the stigma against these valid health concerns. We promise to do what we can to raise awareness here in the U.S., and perhaps run for a few of our own. As some of us are training for races soon, we’ll make #whatifIrunwithyou part of our own training program and hopefully spread a little peace, understanding, and awareness of our own. Bravo!