The art of running is a powerful tool, for both the mind and the body. So, with this in mind in line with our desire to make movement matter, our first Moving Communities discussion – Running for Life – will take a deeper look at the much-loved activity and how it can play a key part in improving mental health and wellbeing.

With broadcaster Charlie Webster hosting, we are delighted to be hearing from Kerry McCarthy, Runner’s World commissioning editor and qualified life coach, Tasha Thompson, founder of Black Girls Do Run, and Jess Robson, founder of Run Talk Run. Please see our guest profiles below for more need-to-know details.

Our panel guests will be talking all about their own running stories, experiences and passion for lacing up their trainers. In this open conversation, you’ll be able to submit your questions to our host and panel ahead of time, as we aim to dive into the power, positivity and happiness that a strong relationship with running can promote.

Has running played a big part in your life over the past 12 months? Have you taken up running for mental health reasons? Are you a runner who is inspired by hearing from fellow runners? The discussion will be hosted on our website and social channels, and will go live in line with Mental Health Awareness Week (starting 10th May).

About our host and guests

Charlie Webster

Description: Broadcaster, speaker, journalist and mental health advocate

Instagram handle: @charliewebster

What impact does running have on your mental health?

“Running is essential to my mental health, it’s a tool I’ve used from a young age to help me manage stress, my emotions and low/flat feelings, give me much needed time on my own and thinking space. When I run it makes me feel free, like I can take a deep breath, roll my shoulders back and know that no matter what I’ll be ok. It’s my time to check in myself and connect with what I’m feeling.”

Kerry McCarthy

Description: Runner’s World commissioning editor and qualified life coach

Instagram handle: @kerryjmmccarthy

What impact does running have on your mental health?

“Huge. If I don’t run I notice it after, say, a week. Running gives me calm, space, time to think, meditation-on-the-move, self-confidence, structure, resilience, an almost immediate mood boost and many more things.”

Tasha Thompson

Description: Founder of Black Girls Do Run UK

What impact does running have on your mental health?

“Running hugely benefits my mental health it always has but the word mental health has not always been a popular term.  Running has been especially helpful during the pandemic and while we have been in and out of lockdown. 

“Running during the pandemic was the one thing that did not change too much, it wasn’t closed, I could still do it and helped to manage the pressures of working from home and having the children off school.”

Jess Robson

Description: Founder of Run Talk Run

What impact does running have on your mental health?

“It’s a coping mechanism for when I’m experiencing extreme anxiety – helps me regulate my breathing. Great for my social anxiety and meeting new people, too. It also helps me establish more of a routine when it comes to self-care and promotes looking after my body in other ways too – recovery, nourishing food, etc.

“We’re always looking for new RTR Leaders. There is such a demand for peer support right now as we come out the other side of the pandemic and running is the perfect vehicle to provide that support. If anyone wants to set up a run then I’d encourage them to reach out.”