Mindful West Run
When a group of friends get together for a good cause there is no stopping them. Andrea Splendori and his 15 friends have been running together for years all around Europe. This year they decided to take on a challenge closer to home by running across Ireland from Greystones to Galway over three days to raise vital funds for our little patients in CHI at Crumlin. With 240km to cover, the group of friends will be relying on each other to complete this monumental challenge.
“As a group of friends we go off every year, and do a marathon or long run. There's ten of us, and we've done 60-80km runs in Spain. We spend time together, and we've been doing it for years,” says Andrea, “then last year we said let's do something in Ireland for a change. Someone said let's go across Ireland. So we put together an idea of doing Greystones to Galway, coast to coast. Initially we thought we would run it for ourselves but then we thought we could create something for charity.”
“As a group of friends we have a great check in with each other, and running is a great thing because you can go for half an hour, four hours or even ten. You're there talking to your friends and it's really nice. So we thought we would do something around mental health awareness - I've been doing bits and pieces for A Lust for Life. So we thought we would create awareness around mental illness, and then two of the guys both had their kids in Crumlin for different reasons. They wanted to do something for Crumlin. So we've linked children's health with mental health.
This was all supposed to happen in April from the 2nd - 4th but when COVID19 happened we couldn't do it. So we postponed it to July and then we said let's push it way out so we don't have to postpone it again. So now it's happening from the 17th - 19th September. The idea is that we will leave Greystones around 6 o'clock in the morning. At the moment it looks like 16 or so people will do the whole thing. But when I say the whole thing I mean Greystones to Galway is 240km - it's a long way to go and we're doing it over three days. So we said you don't have to run the whole thing. If you want to come along and do 5km rest for a while and then join again and do another 5km. The rest of the journey you might help out making breakfast, lunch or just be around to support.
The idea is to get people out. We'll have people joining us along the way doing 1km, 2km or 3km and they are free to talk about anything. Or even if it gives someone the idea that they can do this themselves, get two or three of their friends to run or walk. It's whatever floats your boat, and it's nothing to do with fitness, it's about getting out there and staying healthy. Look after your mental health. None of us are super fit, we're normal middle aged men with a bunch of kids between us all.
We're planning on having a crowd join us in Greystones, and we'll go into town along the canal for two days. Initially we were going to have three camper vans along the way but we're actually only bringing one camper van and one car. So let's say you live in Portobello in Dublin. I'll meet you there at 8am in the morning and you'll run with us for an hour. Then you can hop on the camper van for a couple of hours, have a chat and wait for the rest of the gang to arrive.
Our plan is to raise €20,000 - split equally between CMRF Crumlin and A Lust for Life. A Lust for Life was supposed to put the money into a programme for Leaving Cert students but that went out of the window so they are creating something new for teenagers. While for CMRF Crumlin, the money will go to Music Therapy in the hospital.”
Music Therapy uses music to help patients reach health goals. Music Therapists use their music and therapeutic skills to help children work towards emotional, social, physical and cognitive goals. Sessions are family centred and focus on providing a creative way for the child to express their experience of illness, trauma and treatment. A typical session might include singing, music listening, clinical improvisation, song writing and/or musical play.
Over the last few months across the country, there has been a focus on positive mental health, as we grapple as individuals and a society with the challenges of the current pandemic. Andrea believes that we should all take an active interest in our mental health because it’s just as important as our heart or cholesterol.
“I'm a great believer about meaningful conversation. Instead of asking about the weather ask a real question. It can be easy to ask a question but not so easy to answer one. We have to keep looking out for each other. If there's someone out there who you know is not doing great ask and mean it. It's really important to get out in the fresh air even for 20 minutes or a half hour. If you're stuck at home like a lot of us are now, things can look a lot darker than they actually are. Talk to someone, your best friend or neighbour and the neighbour might need the conversation more than you do. And if you really do feel under the weather, there are a lot of services out there that can help, pick up the phone and talk to somebody.”
With your support we will continue to do #WhateverItTakes
To find out more about the Mindful West Run and to donate click the following link: