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Running the Great East Run for the Charlie Watkins Foundation

A member of our PR team, Abi Gagen, ran the Great East Run to raise money for the Charlie Watkins Foundation. Read her blog on the experience below.

After signing up to the Great East Run in March and running it in September, it’s about time I put digital ink to paper.

The initial idea for this blog post came late on a Friday night while watching Linkin Park’s memorial gig for Chester Bennington, who took his own life on 20th July 2017.

Why is that important? Because people over the continents and in every corner of this world are suffering with their mental health. It doesn’t just affect one type of person, one personality or one stereotype. We all have mental health and we all need to look after it.

I openly admit that I have suffered with my own mental health in the past and understand how fragile it can be. That’s why I was so moved by Harry Watkins’ story and his inner strength to make the loss of his twin brother into a movement for good.

In so little time, the foundation has been able to make great strides towards their mission and earlier this year, launched an anonymous online chatroom for students at the University of Essex, where they can talk about their concerns and receive advice from trained volunteers. This has been aptly named ‘Chat with Charlie’.

This ‘journey’ has not only been physically straining, but also mentally. I have definitely had my fair share of stumbling blocks over the past seven months. Not only coming to grips with my first half marathon, but trying to overcome injury, grief and digging deep to find the inner strength, not to just take the easy road and give up.

But this cause; to raise awareness of the importance of looking after your mental health and letting people know they don’t have to suffer in silence, was just too important to throw in the towel.

So, while I might not be the fittest person, I may have been injury ridden have my own demons to overcome, I was there at that starting line on Sunday 16th September and I gave it my all.

A message that I want to share, is that no matter how low it can get and no matter how isolated the feeling of depression and anxiety can be, you are not alone.

Sometimes in the moment, when emotions are high, it is hard to find solace in those words, but it’s the quiet moments when the wave of feelings have calmed and you are able to appreciate the people around you and just live in the moment, those words become believable.