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Our repeat REDer Sue blogs about the rewards of getting active every day.

“Since it started in 2016, RED January has become a really important part of my calendar. So, what do I get out of it?

Well, there’s the running of course – I was already a sporadic attendee at parkrun, but my first RED January helped me to build up my stamina and distance (though sadly not my speed – I’ll always be a plodder!), and on the back of that I ran the Southampton 10k in April 2016 to raise funds for Solent Mind.

I’ve kept running ever since, and I’m now a regular back-of-the-field entrant of 10k trail running events, mostly around the beautiful Dorset countryside and coastline.

For RED January 2019 I’m planning to mix it up a little – I won’t run every day, but will also walk, cycle (if it’s not too cold) and maybe do some Pilates if I can make it to a class or two.

RED January also brought a new friend into my life – I noticed in the RED January Facebook group that one of the other 2016 REDers lived not far from me, and we met up and became occasional running buddies. Our friendship has lasted to the present day, and we tend to follow our Parkruns together with coffee, breakfast and chat at our favourite café. Sometimes we might talk about our mental health and where that’s at, but there’s always lots of laughter.

Red January for me is very much about the RED community, the shared experience, highs and lows, support and encouragement that we give one another. I love spotting other runners in their RED January t-shirts (and shoelaces for 2019!) and giving them a thumbs up and a wave. Knowing that many REDers are doing it, as I do, to support their own mental health and wellbeing through the dark, cold days of January, spurs me on to keep getting out there, even when what I really want to do is to hibernate.

Last but not least, RED January is a great opportunity for me to do my bit towards fundraising for Solent Mind – I’m so proud of what the charity does to support people like myself who struggle with our mental health, but there’s always more to do. The money that comes in through RED January will be hugely important in helping Solent Mind to support more people.

In 2018 we smashed our fundraising target – let’s see if we can do even better in 2019! Will you join us?”

Find out more about RED January in our useful FAQ page.

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