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I worry less because I run more

Darnell Hathaway, 34, has battled past problems with depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. When a friend challenged him to a two mile run, Darnell struggled immensely but soon found enjoyment in regular runs.

Darnell, who works at Simplyhealth, is trained in Krav Maga – the self-defence system known for its focus on real-world situations and its extreme efficiency. Despite being active growing up, he was not a keen runner, but it was during one class that Darnell was first made to think about changing that.

“A fellow Krav Maga practitioner, in much better shape than me, jokingly asked if I ran the two point something miles to class on a Sunday. ‘No chance EVER, I thought’."

“The comment obviously set the seed though, and one weekend I decided to give it a go. I hated every second of it. I stopped countless times, but I persevered and slowly I started to notice I was stopping less and it was becoming easier."

“All of a sudden I found myself going out once during the week, then more and more regularly. During this period my weight started to drop, which was certainly a welcome change! I’ve lost nearly two stone since taking up running, and that’s without being particularly strict on my diet."

“What I wasn’t prepared for was the improvement in my mental health. I’m not ashamed to admit in the past I have suffered from mental health issues; most recently anxiety. I was genuinely amazed at how much running regularly made a difference.”

In February, Darnell completed his first ever mass participation 10k event.

Darnell Hathaway

— Since the announcement of the Simplyhealth Great Run partnership, my aim is to get at least a couple of those under my belt and hopefully raise a few pounds for charity. The idea of finishing an Ultra marathon in the future appeals as well.

Darnell has worked for Simplyhealth, currently as a Quality Assurance Advisor, for nearly five years. “It’s great being part of a company that is putting such an emphasis on its employees’ wellbeing and is genuinely passionate about getting more people to incorporate running and movement in to their lives as a way of improving their everyday health.

“Since the announcement of the Simplyhealth Great Run partnership, my aim is to get at least a couple of those under my belt and hopefully raise a few pounds for charity. The idea of finishing an Ultra marathon in the future appeals as well."

Commenting on why it is that running has had such a significant impact on his mental health, Darnell cites the lack of distractions and clarity of thought that it allows him.

“I think it’s just being able to run and not really think about anything other than focussing on where you are going, taking achievement at the end. Even if it’s just a smaller run or if you are running solo and want to think you have that time by yourself to think with no interruptions."

“My anxiety is now all but non-existent and I can’t remember the last time I felt this way. For me, running has had massively positive rewards: I worry less because I run more.”

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