This October, an incredible group of ten Bristol alumni and students are taking on the 2022 London Marathon in support of our Healthy Minds programme.
This programme helps students who are experiencing mental health difficulties by providing them with a bespoke physical activity plan and access to sports facilities. Students are paired up with a mentor – a member of the University fitness team with advanced mental health training – who coaches them throughout their time on the programme.
Introducing this year’s runners…
Joe Davis (BSC 2021), Alumni
I am Joe Davis, a 22-year-old graduate of the University of Bristol. I have been lucky enough to be chosen to run the London Marathon for the University as alumnus and will be raising at least £2000 towards the Healthy Minds initiative.
During my second year of University, I received support from the Student Counselling Service regarding my mental health at the time. I had been unhappy and anxious which resulted in me struggling to sleep, eat, and enjoy myself. I was also carrying a back injury so was unable to play rugby or go to the gym. This showed me first-hand the impact exercise and physical activity has on our wellbeing.
If this money is able to help only a few people begin their road to recovery, then it will make every second of training and running worthwhile. I am extremely grateful for all your donations to this cause.
Sophie Osbourne, Current PhD Physics Student
Hi, my name is Sophie and this year I will be running the London Marathon to support the Healthy Minds programme. I’ve run on and off throughout my life and took up running again during the first lockdown. I found it was very beneficial to my anxiety and depression so continued running after the lockdowns. Last year, I even challenged myself to run the Bristol Half Marathon!
As a current student who recently completed the Healthy Minds program, I wanted to run to raise money for it to ensure other students who are also suffering from mental health difficulties have access to the support that I had. The structure of regular exercise has been one of the ways I have managed my mental health for many years, and the program gives opportunities to those who might otherwise feel there are barriers in place.
India Petra Miller (BA 2017), Alumni
I am Indy and I am so excited to run the London Marathon for the University of Bristol and to support Healthy Minds.
Bristol holds a special place in my heart as it was my home for six years. I had some of the best times of my life and also some of the hardest. In a new city, away from friends and family, with stress over study and social influences; myself and many of my friends faced various struggles with mental health.
I really believe in the importance of exercise for happiness, motivation, general well-being, confidence and self-esteem. To me, exercise gives me a sense of achievement, makes me feel proud of my body which in turn makes me want to treat it well. It gives me goals and motivation outside of work and is always a stress buster. A short run outside (particularly with friends) is an instant mood booster.
I hope by taking on the epic challenge of the London Marathon, I can help support students’ mental health and encourage everyone to get out for exercise to feel good when things are tough. See you out there!
Wendy-Jane Gray (BSc 1986), Alumni
I am super excited to be running the London Marathon 2022 for Healthy Minds at Bristol.
Back in the early 80’s I studied psychology at the University of Bristol. I used to walk a lot then but only connected personally with the benefits of running four years ago when I started training for the Petts Wood 10k. The London Marathon is a great way to connect with other runners and supporters. The process of being challenged, the endurance, and hard work required for the race means that completing it will be a great moment of personal satisfaction. A challenge like this, and physical activity in general, is a great way to boost self-esteem and achieve a sense of calm.
I am looking forward to the experience of self-empowerment through sport. I am also delighted to be able to help raise the profile of the Healthy Minds programme at Bristol!
Pawel Laskowski (BSc 2018, BSc 2021), Alumni
The distance at the 2022 London Marathon will be tough, but nothing in comparison to the challenges faced by those suffering from mental health issues. Mental health has been a major topic for discussion on and off-campus for the past few years.
By running the London Marathon with Bristol, I want to further increase awareness on the importance of mental health; be it through guided meditation, therapy, or physical activity. During my studies, I witnessed many of my friends suffering from mental health problems at some point in their life. It is important for all of us to learn how to cope with such problems, where and whom can we turn to, and how to get help.