On November 1 of this year, one of our lovely supporters (and also Lily-Jo’s mum) completed her very first 5K to raise funds for The Lily-Jo Project.
Her name is Babs Bray, and the most incredible thing about her story is that prior to setting this goal, Babs had never run regularly before. We were so blown away by her story of determination and enthusiasm that we just had to interview her about her experience and get the scoop on how she did it!
We hope that Babs’ wisdom and personal growth will inspire you to take on a challenge of your very own – whatever that may be.
Running for Mental Health: An Interview With Babs Bray
What made you decide to do the run when you’ve never run before?
I decided through the March lockdown that I needed to do something to keep me fit and wanted to try something different. My stepdaughter told me about “Couch to 5K” and how it was fairly easy for runners with no experience (this sounded just like me!). The course was six weeks and it was very encouraging having a “trainer” (mine was Michael Johnson!) in your ear letting you know how far you had run and how well you were doing.
What kept you motivated in your training and on the actual day?
I was kept motivated by my husband, Paul, who did the run with me and also it was fairly easy during lockdown as we all had so much more spare time. On the day, I was kept motivated because I was not running for myself but for The Lily-Jo Project. Also, we were placed in groups of ability and I knew there would be others running alongside me that were the same pace as me.
How did you offset any anxiety or lethargy you felt about competing?
I am fortunate to have family and a couple of friends who run and they kept me motivated too, so on the day, I wasn’t feeling too anxious, but I did arrange to meet a lady from my area who had done an official run before, who assured me I would be fine. I am not a fast runner but still managed to come first in my group for the over 60s too!
What did you learn about yourself during the experience?
This experience has taught me that anyone can do anything they put their minds to with determination and support from others. As a gym member, I knew I was quite fit but struggled with running in the past.
What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about running for the first time but is struggling to start?
By using the right app (in my case) or training, I think anyone can achieve something physical. Anyone wanting to start, just go for it! It’s also good to find someone to do it with you as this encourages both of you.
Also, making a specific DAY and TIME for your activity will help you stick to it, rather than doing it when you feel like it (which is probably never!).
Why is The Lily-Jo Project important to you?
The Lily-Jo Project is important to me as I am proud of the work my daughter, Lily-Jo, has put into this. I have never struggled with mental health issues personally but know people that do and I feel this site has helped many people through their issues. I have recommended many to the site, and I know they have been helped and encouraged through it.
Inspired? You Can Run Too!
Inspired by Babs’ story and want to take on a new challenge? We have three words for you: GO FOR IT!
Setting a goal and achieving it is such a rewarding experience. Whether you want to run a 5K like Babs or knit a scarf for a loved one, we encourage you to pick something you think you may enjoy and just stick with it. It might take some hard work and patience, but anything is possible if you set your mind to it!
Get Involved with The Lily-Jo Project
It’s not too late to donate to Babs’ fundraiser. We gladly accept donations of any size on our PayPal account here.
If you are interested in fundraising for The Lily-Jo Project through a 5K, Coffee Morning, or any other activity, feel free to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can provide you with some resources to get started!