Bristol City Council is putting its best foot forward towards ensuring the physical and mental health of its staff after 250 workers signed up to compete in May's Great Bristol 10k.
The council teamed up with event organisers, The Great Run Company, to encourage staff to take advantage of reduced-price entry offer and don their running shoes for the event, in which more than 12,000 people are expected to pound the city's streets on 3 May.
With those places filled, the council staff's preparations are also being backed by the Great Run Company with a campaign of support over the coming months, including training plans to suit all levels of ability, mentoring sessions and motivational material.
The aim is to support the physical and mental wellbeing of staff and marks the first such joint venture with a local authority for the company, having previously worked with NHS trusts, universities and businesses.
Among those taking the challenge on 3 May is Ella Hogg, volunteer coordinator for the council's Parks team, for whom running has helped in her recovery from mental health illnesses and anorexia.
Ella said: “The most important things to me now are that I remain healthy, use exercise for good rather than evil 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.''
Karen MacDonald, an engagement officer in the council's Culture team, will run the 10k in memory of her mother who died after suffering from pancreatic cancer last year, with her efforts also helping to raise funds for Pancreatic Cancer UK.
“Until then, I'd barely heard of pancreatic cancer and certainly not given it any thought,'' said Karen.
“Pancreatic Cancer UK is there to push the research agenda as well as to support sufferers and their families. I want to raise as much money as I can for them, and also do a tiny bit to raise awareness of the disease.''
David Hart, Partnerships Director at The Great Run Company, said: “Our campaign is focused on supporting the physical and mental well-being of council employees by supporting them to prepare for participating in the Great Bristol 10k on the morning 3 May.
“250 staff have signed up for the initiative, many of whom will be taking part in an event of this kind for the first time. Whether they run it, jog it or walk it, they will all be part of an iconic event in the city and being part of the wellbeing campaign.''
To enter the Great Bristol 10k click here