Pace of Mind: New programme uses running to support people with mental health issues

Posted: Thu, 15 Feb 2018 10:40

Pace of Mind: New programme uses running to support people with mental health issues

An exciting new programme from Active Norfolk and Norwich Mind is recruiting people with mental health issues to join a regular running group. Pace of Mind will provide support services alongside physical training to create an inclusive community of regular training partners who feel comfortable discussing shared issues.

Pace of Mind is the first local initiative to provide mental health support services alongside physical training to achieve a running goal and help alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety. The first sessions of the project are taking place in the Lakenham and Tuckswood areas of Norwich for residents who maybe experiencing mild to moderate emotional distress.

The format of the 16-week programme will see runners supported to develop their physical and mental health whilst training for a 5k or 10k race. Experienced running coaches, including Double Olympian Paul Evans, will offer regular help at sessions to encourage participants to improve their fitness and learn to run safely.

Participants will be have access to physiotherapists, equipment, and lots of encouragement from volunteer "buddies," many of whom run to maintain their recovery from mental ill health.

The training programme will begin on April 9, giving participants 16 weeks to train for the Run Norwich 10K road race if they're interested.

Dudley Garner, UK Athletics Mental Health Ambassador and Pace of Mind Project Coordinator at Norwich Mind, said: "For many people with mental health issues, the stigma surrounding the problem is far worse than the diagnosis itself. This is an opportunity to get people talking about mental health to break the taboo".

Pace of Mind is being delivered in partnership with Active Norfolk and Community Action Norfolk's Energise programme, which is one of two pilot Sport for Change projects in England funded by Comic Relief and Sport England.

Ellen Vanlint, Sports Development Officer at Active Norfolk, said: "The Energise initiative uses sport and physical activity to empower this Norwich community to create social change and have a positive impact on local issues, including poor mental health and access to community services.

"This is also a great opportunity to create a strong community of runners of all abilities and backgrounds, whom we hope to support to carry this passion forward into the future."

Recruitment will be open until March 19. To apply or volunteer, visit or email Dudley Garner at

Tags: Active Norfolk, Mental Health, Pace of Mind, Running Groups