How running helped my mental health – Laura’s story

I started running on mayday bank holiday weekend.  It didn’t really have anything to do with fitness – I’d recently moved from London to Bridgend and didn’t know anyone, so I thought it could be a good way to make some friends and meet some people.

I almost didn’t go to the first running session – I’d asked my only friend to come with me but she bailed last minute, but for some reason I still went.  

My first proper race was the Cardiff 10k... I signed up quite last minute and had only ever run 7k before but I didn’t think I could do it.  My boyfriend text me when I got to the 5k mark and I burst into tears.  

It’s a running joke in my family that years ago I entered a 5k race and skipped a lap so didn’t even complete it, so when I told them I was entering a half marathon I don’t think anyone thought I could do it. When I crossed the line after finishing the half marathon I felt so proud of myself – I’d say I’m a starter of things and not a finisher so to know I’d been determined enough to train and run 13.1 miles gave me so much satisfaction.  

I definitely don’t get so out of breath running for the train anymore but the best benefits have been mental.  I’ve had terrible anxiety seen I was a teenager but going for a run suddenly seems to have made more of a difference than any medication ever has.  I notice if I’ve had some time off from running - I don’t feel so level headed and calm- and even after the worst days I feel a million times better after I’ve been for a run. 

I genuinely don’t think I’d feel so settled in my new life living in wales if it wasn’t for the friends and experiences I’ve had through running - I’m a happier and healthier person because of it.


Thanks to Laura for sharing her story.


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