She’s had Storm Eleanor to contend with, sub zero temperatures and bitter gales – but come rain, wind or shine, Emma Torrens is determined to run every day this month.
That’s because the Ely mum of two is doing RED (Run Every Day) January to raise funds and awareness for mental health charity MIND.
Having just passed the halfway mark of her epic challenge, Emma says she’s running “for the many people I know who have had battles with depression and mental illness, including me. There are one in four of us, so chances are one of your family or several of your friends make up that number.”
Emma says the nature of the challenge appealed to her – the fact that it’s supporting “such a great charity” a bonus.
She hopes events like RED January will make people more aware about mental health issues and feel able to talk about the topic openly.
“There is still a stigma attached to it, which only exacerbates the problem for the sufferers.”
The main challenge has been getting out – whatever the weather – but having friends join her on jogs, including running instructor, Arran Selhi, has helped to keep her motivated.
“Arran’s had a big part to play in getting me running and lots of encouraging words this month.”
It was through Arran’s Ely-based group, Get Your A:Run, that Emma first heard about RED January.
Although Emma’s never done a running streak before, she decided it was the perfect way to “start the year with a challenge” and build up her stamina.
She doesn’t have a target mileage for Red January but tries to mix up longer runs with shorter sessions and vary her routes, admitting that fitting it all in can be quite a task. She’s averaging about 5km a day.
On day seven, her daughter Sophie, age six, tagged along.
“She hopped, jumped, skipped and ran the route, chatting the whole way.”
Yesterday (Day 16), to celebrate the halfway mark, Emma completed a 10.5km run, her furthest so far this month.
Despite joining other A:Run members once a week and jogging independently, Emma doesn’t consider herself a seasoned sprinter.
Joining the running group has helped her build her confidence, improve her technique and recover from injury.
“Running helps mentally and physically, it blows the cobwebs away and you set the pace, distance and route. It’s free – aside from some decent running trainers.”
Her advice to others contemplating future Red January challenges?
“Just do it. It doesn’t matter how far you run. Some people are walking some days or doing another form of exercise.
“It’s about getting out there and showing January that it can’t beat you with its grey skies and post Christmas slump.”
You can sponsor Emma here.