In a recent post, I looked at how Run Talk Run has developed over the past 12 months into the solid community that it is today.
On Saturday 21st July, I was privileged enough to be hosting the very first Run Talk Run ‘Birthday Party’ in one of my favourite green spaces in London – Hyde Park.
At 9.30am I arrived at the park in an Uber overspilling with helium balloons, goodie bags and a very excitable 10 year old sister. Between myself, my mum and a running friend – Graham – we managed to haul the heavy goods all the way to the bandstand and start to set up camp… questioning whether this was proving to be more of a strength workout than an organised ‘run’!
The Rethink banner was erected, the bunting was hung and signs were stuck (with half-chewed Maoam sweeties!). Before we knew it, it was 10.30am and the first of the runners were beginning to trickle in, along with some Rethink Mental Illness fundraising peeps.
Runners from all over the UK turned up, allowing me to put faces to names I have grown familiar with over social media and email… words cannot describe how truly wonderful it was to FINALLY be meeting these people whom I’ve been developing some very strong relationships with online. That’s not to discredit the regular Run Talk Runners who come along to RTR on a frequent basis. It really started to hit home just how many beautiful friends I’ve been making through this crazy journey.
At 11.20am, giddy with excitement and nerves I introduced Dan Furlong to the group. Dan has been inspiring me since I saw him give a talk at a Juice+ event and it seemed only right to invite him to give his talk at our Run Talk Run celebrations too. Dan has overcome mental illness and found solace in running, as many of us Run Talk Runners have… and so his powerful speech on Deciding, Acting, and Committing resonated deeply with the stunned faces that took it all in. After a few more words from Rethink Mental Illness, we all set off on the 2.7 mile route that had been plotted around the perimeter of the park.
The run itself was a blur of “OMG this is actually happening”, catching up with RTR buddies as I normally would, and explaining more to newbies about the premise of RTR and why this is so important.
With everyone back at base with huge smiles on their faces, we set about taking group shots and collecting goodie bags. My heart is bursting with love for Manilife, Oppo, ChicP, Eat Grub and Linwoods Health Foods for donating such amazing goodies for these bags!
Our goodie bags, bunting and balloons travelled with us over to another side of the park where we set up shop with our picnics and grub! It was emotionally overwhelming for me to see so many smiling running buddies of mine from home, from afar, from London… all in the same spot. I felt a rush of support and gratitude from these people. They thanked me for creating this space, I thanked them for being a part of the space. It was truly just a cycle of being thankful for each other and the support we have found.
I’m excited to see what the next year holds for Run Talk Run. I am excited for all the new friends I will make. I am excited for future experiences shared. I am excited for that runners high, and I am excited for the calm that running brings too.
Thank you to everyone who has been part of our Run Talk Run journey so far.