Louisa Takes On South Run To Improve Mental Health

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Entries for the Simplyhealth Great South Run are open. Enter at: Greatrun.org/South

Louisa Elliott has ran the Simplyhealth Great South Run four times after losing four stone and using running as a way of improving her mental health.

Louisa, a 24-year-old mental health nurse from Waterlooville, set herself a fundraising challenge this year to raise awareness about mental health and also to raise money for the Mental Health Foundation as she believes that running has a positive effect on people’s mindsets.

She has previously suffered from depression and low-esteem and has transformed herself after taking up running.

After documenting her progress on social media, Louisa now has over 20,000 followers on her Instagram which she uses to inform people of her highs and lows of running.

Louisa said: “In 2013 I was overweight, 15 stone to be exact.

“I was depressed, suffered from very low self-esteem and had no self-confidence in my abilities to do anything.

“I watched people running marathons on television and I knew that that’s what I wanted to do, having hardly ran at all I knew it was going to be a massive challenge.

“When I told my family they were shocked, I think they did not know how I was going to take on such a huge challenge.

“After a year of training, I completed my first marathon and it was the proudest moment of my life. Nothing has ever compared to crossing a finish line, the celebration on finishing a run is the proudest achievement to show that all that your hard work has paid off.

“As a nurse, I work with people and have experience of mental health issues so I try my best to support people and raise awareness for mental health which is a subject that is so overlooked.”

Louisa will join 20,000 others for the Simplyhealth Great South Run on Sunday 22 October for a festival of sport in Portmsouth and Southsea.

The event features a fast and flat 10 mile course that takes runners through Portsmouth Historic Dockyard before finishing on the sea front with beautiful views of the Isle of Wight.

Louisa added: “There is still a huge stigma around mental health and many do not understand the benefits that exercise can provide for individuals suffering with mental health issues.

“I want to try and encourage people to speak out about their problems and not feel that they have to suffer in silence.

“When I first started training, I would follow people on social media accounts and how I feel blessed that people follow me for advice, I now have 23.4k followers on Instagram and it feels so surreal.”

Entries for the Simplyhealth Great South Run are open. Enter at: Greatrun.org/South

We’re celebrating all of the #RealRunners who take part in the Great Run series. Share your funning tales and fails across our social media.

What do you love about running?

“Running is something that has changed my life, without it I do not know where I would be, I am definitely more confident and have belief in my abilities.

“I remember my first run that consisted of going round the block a few times which was impossible, I had to stop for breaks but I eventually got better.

“I kept going and I finally made improvements, when I did it was such a achievement and I love the sense of satisfaction that I got from running a distance. I have now completed seven marathons and four Simplyhealth Great South Runs.”

What is your main running goal?

“I want to prove to people how powerful your mind is and what it can achieve, by showing that having the mental strength to push through something like a 10 mile run will hopefully show people that anything is possible.

“All I have ever wanted to do is to encourage people to look after their physical and mental health and show them how amazing life can be when you find a hobby that you love.”