Vicky Takes On First Bristol 10K For Mind

Great Comeback 2

Enter the Simplyhealth Great Bristol 10k at: Greatrun.org/Bristol10k

A woman will take on her first running challenge this spring after she used running to improve her mental health and to recover from self-harming.

Vicky Evans, from St Andrew's in Bristol, saw her mental health deteriorate after she struggled to come to terms with her sexuality and not fitting in at school.

She felt alienated by her differences and began to dislike herself and began to self-harm to cope with the changes that she went through.

She battled with depression, her sexuality and her body image before having suicidal thoughts which led to her seeking help from a therapist.

Following a friend's advice, she signed up to her local gym and started her journey towards a healthy body and mind. She also picked up her trainers and started running as a way to help with her positivity running became a thing, it has helped me drastically with her mind and body positivity.

This year, Vicky decided to enter the Simplyhealth Great Bristol 10k to raise money for mental health charity Mind, to support a cause that is close to her heart.

The 10k on Sunday 13 May will be her first ever running event and she hopes to use the event to encourage others to open up about their own mental health struggles.

Vicky, 28, said: “Mental health is of major importance to me, knowing how a healthy mind can lead to a better life, so I decided to get my running shoes out to open up lines of communication on issues of self-harm and mental health.

“Since I was young I felt like I never belonged or fitted in anywhere and was always trying to figure out who I was.

“I know now that at the time I was not healthy and I felt alienated by my differences and I started to self-harm to cope with everything as I wasn't able to manage what was going on.

“It also became a release as I battled with my sexuality, home life and depression. I suffered suicidal thoughts because of this and realised that I needed to ask for help. Therapy and a strong support system has helped me through this but managing to turn the thoughts around was hard. It's the hardest to reach out when you feel completely useless.

“One of the biggest gifts I got was my nephew and niece as having them in my life has been the biggest reason to keep going.

“I wanted to do something about my negative thoughts and so I joined a gym and started running. It helped me so much as it does wonders for my mind and body.

“It keeps me connected to my body and I make better decisions for being connected and aware of myself during the times I am focused. It clears the cobwebs and gives me time to focus on me, for my own benefit.”

Vicky decided to enter the Simplyhealth Great Bristol 10k after meeting people who have gone through similar experiences to her and wanting to raise the profile of mental health awareness.

She will join 13,000 others who will take on a 10k challenge in the heart of Bristol city centre, whatever their pace or motivation.

Participants will share the satisfaction of completing a challenge with so many others as they take in the sights of the awe-inspiring surroundings of the city, including passing under the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Vicky, who works as a community health care support worker, added: “I decided to enter the 10k having not run properly since I was young at school.

“I've met people from all walks of life who have had their fair share of struggles and I decided I wanted to raise some money for a charity close to my heart.

“Everyone desperately needs support- even those of us who look like we've got this stuff handled, we still struggle.

“Often it's I visible, but if I didn't have scars on my arms people would think perhaps I was perfectly fine. More people need to talk openly and honestly about what gets them down without the fear of being judged and services like Mind do save people's lives.

“I have found training quite hard but I want to focus my energy and I am determined to cross the finish line, no matter how long it takes me."

To support Vicky's fundraising, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/support-the-mind-run

Enter the Simplyhealth Great Bristol 10k at: Greatrun.org/Bristol10k