From anti-runner to marathon runner – Amy’s journey to improved mental health

For some people running is a way to get fitter and lose a bit of weight but for Amy Hubbuck it’s much more than that – it’s a sanctuary.

The Leeds Trinity University student, Amy Hubbuck, has no doubts that running has improved her life and overall mental well-being.

After completing Sunday's Asda Foundation Leeds Half Marathon, Amy was nothing short than ecstatic. She is overjoyed with the impact running has had on her life and health.

She said: “For me, running has become a sanctuary. The hours I spend on the road, trails and hills allows me to put my worries, stresses and anxieties of daily and student life aside and just focus on myself.

“I sleep better, I perform and focus better and I’m most definitely a lot less anxious all thanks to lacing up my trainers - and I couldn’t be more grateful for getting myself out the front door.”

“There’s nothing more terrifying than being at constant battle with your own mind and that really shouldn’t be a battle that anyone faces alone. I’ve lost friends, both male and female, to suicide and it breaks my heart that they felt that there wasn’t anything left for them and they couldn’t get better.”

Amy, 24, is using her love of running to support the work of the mental health charity, Mind. The Asda Foundation Leeds Half Marathon on Snday 13th May was just the latest in her series of running events.

“I went from running baths to running half and full marathons in 16 months as part of my fundraising challenge to run 30 events to raise money for my local Mind and to show anyone would listen that you can achieve anything you want to in life, even when you’ve been at rock bottom.

“The only way to go from there is up. Even my friends, family and people I knew in school are amazed at how I’ve transformed from the self-confessed anti-runner.

“It’s been proven in studies that physical activity is greatly beneficial for your brain and mental health but you don’t have to be a long distance runner to see those benefits. Just making one change into your daily or weekly routine, whether that’s walking to and/or from work each day, a weekly exercise class or an active activity with a friend, you’ll be amazed at how much a small dedicated time to yourself can become your own personal getaway from the hustle and bustle of modern day life.”

Amy is a passionate advocate for the need for more people to speak up about mental health issues – particularly men.

She said: “There is this stereotype that men aren’t allowed to be vulnerable, that they need to ‘man up,’ which is one of the biggest barriers to allowing men to open up about something that is so commonly experienced and in fact normal to feel.

“I am very fortunate to have incredible men in my life; from my two best friends to my brothers and especially my dad, who have taught me that there is no shame in having a bad day or feeling down and it definitely doesn’t define who you are.”

Keen to enter a major run in a city she has fallen in love with, Amy had no hesitation in entering the Leeds Half Marathon.

She said: “After falling in love with the city following a visit in 2016, I moved to Leeds in September 2017 from South Wales to study for a Master’s degree in Psychology at Leeds Trinity. I thought it was the perfect reason to combine a great city with one of my greatest interests – running. I think a large sporting event is one of the best examples of seeing the true spirit of a city.”

Click to read more about the mental health benefits of running.

Click to discover more about the Asda Foundation Leeds Half Marathon 2019.

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