Run For Rene




Raising mental health awareness through running

"In January 2017 I was away with work, when I received a call from my father telling me that my beautiful brother Rene had taken his own life. It’s still impossible to get my head around how a split moment can pour petrol on all the hopes and plans and foundations you’ve laid out for a lifetime, just light a match and burn them to ash.

"After months of barely functioning, I realised I had to make sense of all the pain. It was a real sink or swim moment; where I felt myself drowning and I knew instinctively I had no choice but to create a buoy to hold on to and ride the waves of despair. Running became my float. The Run4Rene community started that late Summer. I wanted to talk about my own sadness and mental ill-health with others, but I didn’t want to sit in a room drinking tea doing it. I’d tried that, but it hadn’t worked for me. I yearned for a community and a support network but knew that I wanted running to be at the heart of it.

"Since we started, we’ve raised nearly £100,000 through community and running events together for various mental health charities but just as importantly, we’ve created a sacred space where strangers can come, run side-by-side with others and talk about anything bothering them and know they are never alone.

"Run4Rene Crew aim to grow diverse communities across London, encouraging people to support each other and to combat stigma, loneliness and isolation, which can bolster poor mental health. We love celebrating London communities in all their forms and running in our amazing city!"

Run4Rene is free and available to all levels.

If you’ve been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, the following helplines may be able to provide help:

The Samaritans: 116 123
Papyrus: 0800 068 41 41
CALM: 0800 58 58 58 (or webchat here)