My first experience of RED was in January 2018. I had been a member of DAC for just 5 months and didn’t know many people. We all did our own thing for RED but during a conversation with Julie Cull she suggested we did a run together on 31 January and have something to eat to celebrate. I put a post on facebook and 13 of us met up to run and have a meal at the Eagle and Child.
The following year I decided to set up a RED support group so we could post our RED activities and meet up to run together. We had 80 members and 46 of us came together to celebrate at Whitby’s after Janet Powell approached them to see if they would cater for a large group.
Before I knew it RED 2020 was fast approaching so I set up the support group, but as the days went by I didn’t feel I was in the right place mentally to take on the role of running the page. I asked John Atkins and Claire Beegan if they would run it for me which they kindly agreed to do.
Then one Saturday morning a letter came from DAC to say I had been nominated for an Award at Awards Evening. I was absolutely shocked and overwhelmed but that nomination gave me the lift I needed to ‘snatch’ my page back and start looking around for motivational memes ready for January.
Approximately 40 of us gathered at the Cheswold on 1 January for our first run and walk and that was it we were off! Everyday we posted our activities and received praise and encouragement from group members. RED is a tough challenge but by sticking together we managed to tick off the days and edge closer and closer to our goal of completing it.
On 31 January 2020 70 of our 97 group members came together for our final run and walk and to celebrate at Whitby’s. Special mentions could go to many members for various achievements during the month but I must mention Isabelle Reynolds our youngest member who ran every day and clocked up 48 miles. She also did her longest ever run of just over 4 miles one evening which I feel honoured to have been with her for. A second mention goes to Mazza for doing the earliest run of the day and starting the ‘fahvayem’ club. Although I feel Amie Knott and myself may try and beat that next year!
I think we have proved that however difficult the challenge you can make it easier by sticking together and supporting each other. Being part of a group gives you the push to go out and do something on the days you really don’t feel like it. Let’s be honest no one regrets exercising once it’s done, the hardest step is the one out of the door!
On a personal level being part of RED has shown me daily exercise is essential for your mental health. Life is tough, demanding, stressful and sometimes overwhelming but taking time out for YOU can give you time to re-set your brain and enable you to deal with your world again.
Thank you to every single member of the class of RED2020 for being awesome and here’s to RED2021. Let’s make it BIGGER and BETTER!