Birmingham’s first running tour company, Run of a Kind, is collaborating with mental health charity in the West Midlands, Living Well UK, following the launch of its brand new fitness and wellbeing programmes this month. Kicking off on 24 and 25 January respectively, the weekly running sessions are free of charge and will see small groups led by a specialist Run Leader around Birmingham and Solihull parks.
Simultaneously launching its Mind & Body 6 Week Programme and 16-25 Couch to 5K 10 Week Programme (available for runners aged 16-25), each one hour session will involve participants engaging in a mixture of personal training and psychoeducation to help boost their overall fitness and mental health whilst exploring the great outdoors across the city.
As well as taking part in bespoke routes and comprehensive physical training, each runner – across both programmes – will receive access to a dedicated WhatsApp group chat with their running instructor and other group members. Bolstering this sustained support network further, participants will also be sent weekly, 10-minute psychoeducation videos from a Living Well Consortium Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner designed to provide more long-term mental health and wellbeing support.
Lucy Canham, Founder of Run of a Kind, commented on the continuation of the partnership and the importance of offering such programmes:
“We are thrilled to continue working with Living Well UK in 2023, and to offer more varied, exciting programmes for local people to take part in. Designed to seamlessly embed physical activity and mindfulness into your everyday life and routine, the weekly sessions aim to make running more accessible and a less daunting process for beginners whilst also tackling the mental health roadblocks that can sometimes impact our ability to stay consistent with exercise.”
With both programmes offering a full week-by-week running training plan, Lucy and the team aim to make running less intimidating for beginners and implement regular breaks to help participants simultaneously take in their outdoor surroundings which helps to also reduce the barriers to exercise such as the fear of being slow or unfit.
Sarah Cannon, Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner and Personal Trainer at Living Well UK, added:
“Throughout the past 12 months, we’ve delivered a wide range of free physical and creative activities across the Midlands to provide holistic, accessible wellbeing support; and it’s great to continue working with Run of a Kind in 2023 and support with two brand new programmes.
“Recent studies clearly highlight a link between being outdoors and exercising and individuals experiencing improved mental and physical wellbeing as a result. We hope that by providing such accessible, beginner-friendly options will raise the awareness of the other ways in which we – at Living Well UK – can support those living in Birmingham and Solihull to improve their wellbeing with similar approaches, such as walking therapy and personal training alongside guided cognitive behavioural therapy”.
With Living Well UK supporting over 12,000 individuals in Birmingham suffering from mental ill health since 2020 – with dedicated helplines and resources available for front line workers during and following the height of the pandemic – the consortium understands the importance of funding accessible projects such as these Run of a Kind programmes, in a bid to help people to discover alternative, holistic support and discover new hobbies.
The first Mind & Body Run session will take place on Tuesday 24 January, 7PM and the first Couch to 5K 10 session will take place on Wednesday 25 January, 7:30PM, with limited places now available for booking.