Final year Business and Management student, Nadya Cohen, is running the Great Birmingham 10k to raise awareness of mental health issues amongst under graduates.  

Approaching the end of a three year course at Birmingham City University (BCU) she is hoping to start her PGCE Primary Teaching course from September 2019.

Nadya explains “I really want to raise awareness for mental health.  Running the Great Birmingham 10k will be an amazing achievement for me to see how far I've come this year.  I've really struggled with my mental health especially during my final year at Uni.”

Nadya started to become withdrawn from friends, family and school during her final year of A Levels.  This escalated during her first year at University, where she felt alone and isolated. 

Her second year at University was much better but since starting her 3rd and final year her mental health has severely decreased and progressively got worse.

Nadya explains “My mental health impacts my day to day life and my studies dramatically due to the fact that I have and am still struggling to get my university work completed.“

“Uni work has taken more of a back seat unfortunately which does not help my mental health as this makes me become increasingly anxious, stressed, angry and frustrated at myself for not having the strength to do my work. “

Nadya's day to day life has also suffered this year; she used to enjoy going to social events with her friends but anxiety and low moods has made socialising impossible for her. 

“When I do find the motivation and courage to go out with my friends or go to social events, I end up leaving half way through due to horrendous panic attacks that leave me extremely overwhelmed and upset. I've had a few bad experiences which have left me avoiding all social events even if it is just a small group of friends meeting at someone's house.”

Towards the end of Nadya's first year, she decided to start going back to the gym. She started boxing and had a personal trainer with her friend.

Since finishing her 2nd year at university, the gym became a second home for Nadya as she was always there. She has a personal trainer who is absolutely incredible, as well as a boxing trainer which she describes as an enormous benefit to release stress, anger and frustration. 

“Both my personal trainer and boxing trainer have pushed me out of my comfort zone every single session. I come out feeling a rush of adrenaline and endorphins.  I box, not to fight, but for fitness and for my mental health.  I find it really helps me to get through each day as my mental health is boosted from going to the gym.” 

Nadya has never been a natural runner but she committed to the Great Birmingham 10K because she wanted to challenge herself. 

“I have never been great at running and have always done my best to avoid the treadmill section of the gym. However, from signing up to the Great Birmingham 10K, even though I am absolutely terrified, I want to do my best to run the entire thing.”

During her training runs for the Great Birmingham 10K, Nadya has pushed herself to keep on going even when she wanted to give up.  She says “it leaves me with a big smile on my face knowing that I have achieved something that I never thought I could do.”

“When I ran my first 5K, I was overjoyed, elated and super proud of myself. To be honest with you, I didn't believe that I had actually run 5K by myself! Since then, I have pushed myself to go for a run as much as I can. 

Nadya tries to run whenever she can, although due to her busy gym schedule and going to university, it is rarely more than twice a week. She tends to do all her run training outside on the roads.

She likes to run alone but is going to start running with her course mate.  She thinks it is important to practice together and encourage each other for the Great Birmingham 10K. 

“Training alone means I can focus on myself, instead of others around me. I also see the benefits of training with others as you can push, motivate and encourage each other to keep going no matter what.”

Completing a 10k run is a brilliant achievement for anyone, especially when you are not a natural runner.   

Nadya explains “I am so excited to get to the finish line. I am sure that I will feel really proud of myself and elated from achieving something so far out of my comfort zone.”

If you would like to support Nadya in raising awareness of mental health issues amongst under graduates please visit her fundraising page: justgiving.com/fundraising/nadya-cohen3 

To enter the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham 10k click here