Last month, 4 of our very own Foodies took to the streets of Manchester to complete the half marathon on behalf of MIND the mental health charity.

MIND is an awesome charity. It has centres all over the country, in most cities, and offers support to those who feel like they need it. Mental health is finally starting to enter the forefront of people’s minds, and that is thanks, in no small part, to charities like MIND and campaigns that help raise awareness of the hidden problems some people can have.

Luke, Imogen, Dale and Tom feel passionate about mental health. Some reasons are personal, and some reasons are social, but all are advocates of supporting mental health charities.

As well as the chance to raise money for an awesome charity, it was a chance for the runners to flex their muscles (literally) and challenge themselves (sometimes mentally, ironically!) in a way that some of them simply hadn’t done before. And even the ones who had, they’re were still running a half marathon.

Below, we’ve asked Luke to give us a brief chat about the marathon experience and what the team hoped to achieve by taking part in the event:

“So, we did a half marathon! If you’d asked me two weeks before I signed up last July whether I was ever going to do a half marathon, I’d have probably laughed in your face! Seriously, it was nowhere near my agenda. But then Imogen raised the idea to a few of us, and I’d been thinking about doing something to challenge myself earlier in the year, so I decided to, instead of thinking about the idea (and eventually, probably think myself out of it), to instead just sign up and force myself into running 13.1 miles, or 21.1k. Further than I’d ever ran before by 13k.

When we had all made our decisions to run, we knew we wanted to do it as a sponsorship MIND was always a charity that meant a lot to us. Personally, everybody knows someone who has suffered with their mental health. It could be yourself, or it could be a friend or family, but we all know someone. And it’s with that in mind that we wanted to raise some money for the Manchester branch of the charity.

Training was tough and intense. I don’t know about Tom, Imogen and Dale, but I both enjoyed and hated training in equal measure. For the most part, it was great. I’ve never been particularly into fitness and never trained for anything before, and having a goal was great. But over the 15 week period, getting to week 15 with 100% discipline was hard. By the end, I just wanted to eat take out and have a sit down, but I needed to keep going. The fear of not finishing the run was keeping me going.

The day of the race itself was pretty straight forward. We had all trained hard and knew what we were doing and where we were going. The way events work is that, based on expected finish time, people are grouped together as a staggered start. This meant we were all in different groups, with myself in one of the final groups.

The route took us all through Manchester, through the streets of Sale and Didsbury, passed Old Trafford (boo!) and much more. It was amazing to see the support from spectators, some of whom had brought trays of orange segments, sweets and drinks to give out to the runners. I’m not ashamed to say that this made me very emotional! Such lovely acts of kindness, and on a day where the weather way… wet, to say the least.

Running a half marathon was hard, but the money raised and the actual event itself made it worthwhile. We raised a great amount of money (£2827!!) and a lot of that was given by our friends and colleagues at All About Food. Such a supportive, generous group that we’re glad helped us reach our goal. If you ever consider doing something like this, I say go for it. It’s a great experience. Just don’t expect your legs to work the following week.”