To celebrate Global Running Day on June 1 TIC+ fundraising hero Kerry Riddiford discusses the benefits of running on her mental health as she prepares to tackle an ultra-marathon to raise funds for TIC+.
How running has helped my mental health
I started running a few years back using the couch to 5k app after hearing the concept of ‘healthy coping strategies’. A few years prior, I was diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) as a result of several adverse childhood events which continued into my early adulthood. I found that running really helps me to regulate my mood alongside allowing me to be the healthiest I’ve ever been.
Feeling strong physically helped me to feel strong mentally.
Running has huge similarities to wider life; whilst sometimes you feel invincible, sometimes it does feel that putting one step in front of the other is the hardest of feats, but regardless to how you feel at the starting point, or along the journey, the effort you put in is always rewarded by what you achieve.
Joining a local running group in the early stages provided me with motivation and support as well as lots of new friends from the running community, all of who are extremely friendly and welcoming to newcomers. I recommend running to anyone looking to improve both their mental and physical health, it’s not about speed or distance, it’s just pulling on your running shoes and getting out there; Global Running Day is the perfect day to start!
My Ultra Journey
In 2021, I had undoubtedly the most challenging year of my life to date, I experienced a great deal of loss from different events and my life as I knew it got turned upside down. I lost my identity for a while. I had to stop running as the emotional challenges started to impact me physically. During this time I realised quite how much running helped me to regulate my mental health and I started to really miss that aspect of my life.
With the support of people around me, I gained resilience as my unofficial middle name and was able to begin running again. I felt that I needed to do something ambitious, something that I could focus my energy on. I had proven to myself that I had the mental strength to survive every single challenge that has crossed my path in my life to date, and so I now wanted a physical challenge to match the immense emotional journey I had been on.
Along came the rather ambitious idea of signing up to run an ultra-marathon, Race to the Stones, on the 9and 10 July which will involve running 62miles (100k) to the Avebury Stones.
I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to raise money for TIC+. I’ve witnessed first-hand the benefits of the support TIC+ provide for young people and despite receiving support in early adulthood, I feel having access to a service such as TIC+ at a younger age would’ve hugely benefitted younger me. No one should have to wait for support to overcome life’s challenges, so I wanted to fundraise to support more young people and their families in accessing support via TIC+, because everyone deserves resilience as a middle name.
You can donate to Kerry’s fundraising page here.
Written by Kerry Riddiford – Fundraiser
If you live in Gloucestershire and are aged 9-21, you can get support from our TIC+ counsellors. TIC+ works hard at raising funds so they can arrange for a counsellor to see you for free, all you need to do is call us on 01594 372777 or text us on 07520 634063 to arrange an appointment. We know it can be hard to take that first step but, like the other young people we’ve helped, you’ll be so glad you did.
If you need to speak to someone urgently, call NHS 111 (on 111) or the Samaritans on 116 123. There’s always someone there to help, and any conversations you have with them are confidential.
TIC+ also offers a Parent Support & Advice Line. If your child lives in Gloucestershire and is between the ages of 0 and 25 and you, as a parent or carer, would like support, please get in touch. To make it easier to reach out for help we offer a choice of ways to contact us on Freephone 0800 6525675 or web-chat. Whichever option you choose, there is no need to make an appointment, drop-in anytime during our open hours.
Alternatively, if you are a parent and would like to arrange counselling for a young person who lives in Gloucestershire and is aged 9-21, they can get support from our TIC+ counsellors. All they, or someone they trust, needs to do is call us on 01594 372777 or text us on 07520 634063 to give us some details so we can arrange an appointment.
For more advice check out our SUPPORT RESOURCES page!