A running club looking to improve men's mental health
20 December 2019, 10:20 a.m.
Run With Purpose founders Nii Lartey and Joel Thika want running to be open to people of all backgrounds and abilities.
Run With Purpose define themselves as a brotherhood of men from all backgrounds and abilities who come together to run, chat and chill, all for one purpose: tackle male mental health issues (anxiety, depression, etc) and raise awareness around them. Whether you have suffered from mental health issues, or know of those who have, Nii and Joel promise a safe space for you to be yourself while being valued and listened to.
Joel says: “I gave Nii a call one day and I said, ‘I’ve noticed we have this thing in common, would it not be great to start a running group just for men? Nii and I are from an area where social stigmas prevail; if you tell guys what you’re going through, they’ll say ‘man up’. So we thought, let’s start this thing for men, where they can come together and be vulnerable and real about what they’re going through.”
One runner who attended their group had recently experienced a suicide in his family and was suffering from mental health issues, but he found the courage to join Run With Purpose for one of their weekly runs and it allowed him the freedom to grieve and share his experiences.
Nii explains: “He said when he attended our run that it was the first time he allowed himself to express himself and let out all the emotion he had within him. This is what we, Run With Purpose, do – we allow guys to express themselves and open up.”
And now a team of runners from Run With Purpose are in training to take part in The Vitality Big Half on Sunday 1 March 2020 as one of the community groups championing the event's mission to get London moving.
“I love what The Vitality Big Half is doing because it aligns with one of our goals, which is to enable people from diverse backgrounds to come together and run together, as well as tackling anxiety, depression and mental health issues,” says Joel. “Now they get to see that there are other people who look like them who are also into running.”
Morgan, who recently joined Run With Purpose, says: “Together we support each other; it’s a lot of fun and it’s already a community that I feel is only going to go from strength to strength. I’m really grateful to have found the group in the last month and I’m looking forward to the future with them.”
A number of community entries for The Vitality Big Half on Sunday 1 March 2020 are still available – you can request entries for your community group here.
Please note that for the purposes of The Vitality Big Half 2020, a community group is defined as a local group or organisation, sports club, school, or a local charity delivering benefits to their local community in London. To be eligible they must operate from and support only London residents, including formal or informal groups that can demonstrate they fit the above definition of delivering activities to benefit their local community in London. National and international charities are not eligible for community entries.