You may have heard of RED (Run Every Day) January. Three Halstead Road Runners took part in the challenge this year and I wondered if you’d be interested in their respective stories which may inspire some of your readers. I also attach a photo of them on the last day of the month at our club session celebrating their respective achievements (left to right – Charlotte May, Richard Tiller and Jo Roulson).

Ladies Captain Charlotte May first heard about RED January on the Run Mummy Run Facebook group. The challenge was created by the mental health charity Mind to raise funds and to help people to realise the benefits every day exercise can have on their mental wellbeing.

Charlotte’s story “As a runner who struggles with motivation, I thought it might just be the incentive I needed to get back in my trainers. I’d had a pretty dismal year of running in 2017, gaining weight and slower times had all affected my confidence quite severely. I decided to set myself a target of a minimum of one mile running for each day in January. I found a local online group of people who were all taking part in the challenge in different ways, but all supporting each other with their personal challenges. My first run of the year on New Year’s Day was at Great Notley parkrun where I ran with a friend in the freezing cold through mud, puddles and up the giant hill. We felt brilliant afterwards and it was the perfect start to my RED challenge.

I mixed up my runs over the month. Parkrun, training sessions with my running club, muddy trail runs and the one mile runs when I was short on time. I have also taken my two young children out with me – they have enjoyed spending time exercising with me and then ticking off the days on my challenge sheet.

January and the RED challenge has been brilliant for me. I have gained some much needed confidence and motivation. I have increased my fitness and speed. I have also lost weight and felt much more at ease with my body and appearance. Over the month, I have managed to run around 80 miles which is far more than I have ever achieved before.”

Jo Roulson had never heard of RED January before Ladies Captain Charlotte mentioned it. Jo thought it sounded like a fun challenge and a good way to kick start the year although she only decided on New Year’s Day to do it.

Jo’s story “My reason for doing RED January was to see if I could do it and also to give myself some “me” time. As a mum to two small children there are days when you don’t think you have time to do anything for yourself but it is really important not just for your physical health but also mental wellbeing. During the month there were days when I only managed to run a mile but I still felt better afterwards and proved that I could fit it in if I really tried.

My husband Nath and two girls were supportive as well and it’s important to me that Evelyn sees me living an active, healthy life (I used to be quite a couch potato!). Mid-way through the month I did find it hard mentally in terms of motivation but the fact I’d committed to doing it meant that I felt I just had to get on with it.

My body does feel like it’s ready for a little rest; I have a few aches and pains however I think it has been the perfect start to my marathon training. Until 30th January in all honestly I’d paid no attention to the total mileage but having checked Strava it seems I did 83 miles. So as January ends I’m having a couple of days off then I’ll be doing a long run on Saturday.”

Richard Tiller is no stranger to running every day having participated in a similar Ron Hill challenge last year. His reason for doing REDJanuary is because Mind is a great charity close to his heart and Charlotte put him up to it (there’s a theme here!). He has used the opportunity to raise money for Mind so if anyone wants to sponsor him they can do so via the link below.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/richard-tiller2017

Richard’s story “I’ve enjoyed it; it’s really made a difference to my running and general wellbeing. My high point was running along the coast on a sunny afternoon, a truly beautiful day. By comparison my low point was running around Halstead on a dark, freezing Sunday evening in the rain and getting lost. I’ve covered upwards of 135 miles during the month and will be looking to buy new trainers in February!”