Socially-distanced Stratford running group aiming to boost both physical and mental health
- Credit: James Eggleton
A Forest Gate man has launched a community running group aimed at encouraging people to talk about their mental health whilst getting fit.
James Eggleton was inspired to set up RunTalkRun Stratford after his own mental health experience led him back to running.
The RunTalkRun initiative was created by Jessica Robson in 2017 and aims to bring people together for a gentle jog and a chance to talk to each other about mental health.
The new Stratford group joins 19 others across London.
James, 31, said: “When I first found out about RunTalkRun, I didn’t have the confidence to go. But after talking to Jess about a year ago I decided to set one up in Stratford to help take the movement forward.”
The group meets by the Bat and Ball pub in Westfield Stratford City on Tuesday evenings for a socially-distanced jog around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
James said: “We had 4 people attend [the first session] and it was everything I hoped it would be. A gentle jog and excellent conversation about mental health, running and everything in between and a real confidence boost.”
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His message to anyone interested in joining but worried about running is not to worry.
“There isn’t a focus on pace,” he said.
“We run at a slow speed so you can still talk. We break the route down into some jogging and if we do some walking, that’s fine. The conversation is the thing that matters.
“I want people to know everyone is welcome, you fit in here. You don’t have to share anything and you don’t need to have a diagnosis.”
James credits his wife Gem for getting him back into running after a music career and busy lifestyle led to an increasing dependancy on alcohol.
He said: “She’s a runner and got me back into self-care, looking after myself and running again.
“Running allows you to open up. You’re talking to a person, looking at scenery. It helps you feel a bit clearer headed about how you feel.
“I now know running is the most important tool in my armour for looking after myself.”
For more information about RunTalkRun, including how to get involved, visit runtalkrun.com