Bristol City Council are today launching a Partnership with Great Run, on a campaign to encourage their employees into activity with the focus on sustaining long-term physical and mental well-being. Already on board with the campaign are staff from the Citizen Services Team, Juliet Hagen and Ella Hogg.
CITIZEN SERVICES TEAM
Citizen Services Team 2018/Header image Citizen Services Team 2019
Running the 10K has become a regular team event in Citizen Services.
Every year, there's usually one or two team members who consider skipping it. When January hits though, we jog each other's memories and remind them just how good it was the previous year. And we also tell them that skipping is a perfectly valid way to complete the event.
Once we've committed (and this early committal really is key to our success) we all motivate and encourage each other right up to the big day. We all have different abilities and experience – some of us are recovering from illness and some just want to get fit. Regardless, we celebrate the personal achievement that each of us has made and it's that team spirit which helps us over the finish line.
I did my first 10k two years ago; (2018) I did walking training, as I couldn't get myself to run. I walked round wearing good walking sandals, as my trainers started rubbing earlier that morning, with the sterling support of Crystal Edmeads, who put her own goal on hold to keep me company…many stars to her!
In the meantime my daughter Mary started on the couch to 5k training programme, and surprised herself by liking running so much she now does half marathons and triathlons!
I started doing couch to 5k in January to get ready for it again, but got a chest infection just before. I ran a bit, but my time was five minutes less than when I actually walked, and at one point I was literally last. I made it to the end by saying to myself ‘buggrit- I'll just enjoy the walk on this nice sunny morning- how pretty those flowers are- and I'll still get a t-shirt at the end,' and I got there, Mary joining me for the last final sprint bit.
I'm going for it again in 2020, but not sure if I'm running, or walking, or what they used to call ‘scout's pace', which is a bit of both.
Running has been a part of my life since the age of 12, when my dad took me out for that first memorable, painful 5k, where I cried and thought I'd never be able to get my breath back(!). A couple of months and a few regular jogs later (with my dad's continued encouragement – thanks dad!) and I was hooked. Running was freedom and the chance to think all my thoughts at high speed as I galloped through the local woods in mid-Wales. Nothing clears the mind like taking in the local greenery whilst dodging tree roots, smiling hello at passers-by and jumping up steps.
Sadly, at the age of 15, my mind was not as clear as I'd thought. I suffered acutely with anorexia for several years, including periods of inpatient and outpatient care. Running certainly wasn't on the cards.
Despite mental health illnesses and anorexia coming with a whole host of different approaches to treatment, I found (and still find) that the only thing that made me feel at peace with myself was being out in nature. Whether that was running, walking or just taking some big breaths at the top of a hill, it always helped. Focussing on getting well enough to be allowed the mental release of running was one of the few things that pulled me through the ugly illness and tormenting thoughts.
Being physically recovered from anorexia is a continual effort, and certain things stay with your mind for ever. The most important things to me now are that I remain healthy, use exercise for good rather than evil (it's like playing a constant superhero battle in your mind sometimes!) and be kind to myself. That's why this year I'm planning to run the Bristol 10k, without pressurising myself to train, not shouting about a time I ‘need' to get. Rather, I want to run this for pleasure and to show that being physically active is not only important for our physical health, but massively so for the mind.
I often get asked how or why I am always smiling when I run. For me, running makes things make sense. It's that high speed thinking thing, and the ability to visit parks that would have taken much longer to walk to. It might not be for everyone, but I am firm believer that doing some form of exercise regularly (just find what makes you happy!) has endless benefits.
Luckily, working in the Parks Team as the Volunteer Coordinator means a lot of flying around the city on my bike; visiting green spaces or chatting to people who want to make a positive difference to their local park. All of this outdoor time, alongside a good dose of high energy food makes for a happy, healthy mind.
I hope you'll consider taking on the 10k for you, your head and everything that makes you happy!
To enter the Great Bristol 10k click here