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Bryony Gordon

On what is the final week of the Run Happy and Healthy Plan before event week begins, we ask journalist, author and Mental Health Mates founder Bryony Gordon for her words of encouragement to anyone taking part in – or thinking of taking part in! – the virtual Vitality London 10,000 this year.

How does running make you feel happy and healthy?
It gets me out of my head for an hour each day and reminds me that the world is still spinning. It’s something positive I’m doing for me... but for the way it makes me feel, rather than the way it makes me look!

We’re holding the virtual Vitality London 10,000 in partnership with Mental Health Mates, the peer support group you founded – what it is about the event, and its Celebrate You theme, that resonates so strongly with you?
It’s just so joyous seeing people get out there for their heads, and also to witness the power of coming together and being active after such a long period of isolation. When I was a kid, exercise always felt like it was about punishment. Now I see how nourishing it is, and it’s fantastic to watch people go through the same set of emotions as me!

Virtual Vitality London 10,000 participants can listen to your Mad World podcast as part of the Run Happy and Healthy Plan. Why is it important that event training plans like this consider mental, as well as physical, health?
I just LOVE that you have devised a mental health training plan. I think people can get very stuck on times and pace and speed, but for me the most freeing thing was realising how good it is to just be out there, however long it takes me! The confidence boost I get from running that little bit longer each week is huge, and the mental health benefits of the structure are massive.

You ran the very first virtual Vitality London 10,000 last year having previously taken part in the mass event. How did doing it virtually differ?
Just the route – otherwise I ran with five of the Celebrate You girls, and we had a good natter as usual!

What are the benefits of virtual events? Do you think they have changed people’s attitudes towards taking part?
You can fit them in to your own schedule and pick your own route, which is lovely, and definitely a benefit for busy women who might struggle to fit in big races at weekends.

You’ve also run the Virgin Money London Marathon in the past – how do shorter events like the virtual Vitality London 10,000 compare?
Shorter challenges involve WAY more fun. I know I can get a gang of us together and we are guaranteed a couple of hours of laughter and endorphins... that’s a little bit harder when you’re taking on 26.2 miles!

What would you say to someone who’s finding it hard to stay motivated to exercise?
Remember: nobody ever wants to go for a run, but nobody ever regrets it!

And what about people who might want to try running but feel self-conscious?
Remember: everyone is out there running for their own reasons. Nobody notices anybody else. Also, saying only really quick people can exercise is like saying only people with Michelin stars can cook. Exercise is for everybody, and you have as much right to do it as the next person.

Are you planning to run the virtual Vitality London 10,000 with anyone else this year?
Yes, with my lovely friend Emma Campbell, who I run everything with. It’s as much about the ranting as the running to be honest! I like the connection after all the days I’ve spent alone at home.

What are you most looking forward to about this year’s virtual Vitality London 10,000?
I’m looking forward to getting my medal and being 10K closer to real-life races!

Do you have a message for everyone about to embark on the virtual Vitality London 10,000 in this coming week? We’d love to hear your words of encouragement!
I’m with you every step of the way, cheering you on. You’re amazing for doing this and will be rewarded in endorphins. Remember: exercise is for everyone, and you DESERVE to run this 10K!