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Meet the Grassroots Runners 2021: Nina and Max

The Grassroots Runners, which was only started started in 2020, is a growing and thriving community of passionate fundraisers with a common goal – to raise awareness and prevent suicide through running. After many of 2020’s running events not going forward, and a year of waiting for the go-ahead, our runners are more ready than ever to take on the challenge in this year’s upcoming marathons.

We spoke to some of our 2021 Grassroots Runners about how their early stages of training are going, what motivated them to run with Grassroots and what they’re most excited for about the big day!

Here is what Nina and Max, two first-time marathon runners had to say.

Tell us about yourself!

Hi, I’m Nina, I am 20 years old, nearly 21. I am currently studying criminology at Sussex university and am about to finish my second year. I am running in the marathon this year with my boyfriend Max, who is also a university student- and also probably a lot more physically fit than me!

Why are you running for grassroots?

We are running for grassroots because we believe suicide awareness and mental health needs to be spoken about more openly, and that if the situation arises where a friend, family or colleague is feeling suicidal- everyone has the skills to help. I think because it is still a taboo subject, sometimes people are scared to talk about their feelings or open up to a loved one. The more knowledge and honest and open discussions we all have on the matter, will help save lives.

“Finding Grassroots, and seeing the amazing work they do, was the main reason that pushed us to sign up for the marathon.”

 I think my understanding of mental health and passion for wanting to raise awareness on suicide prevention, developed after a family member attempted suicide a couple years ago. I myself dealt with a lot of trauma from this, and after this experience myself and my boyfriend knew straight away that we wanted to help others with preventing suicide and talking about mental health in an effective way, we just weren’t sure how we could be of help. Finding the Grassroots Suicide Prevention charity, and seeing the amazing work they do, was the main reason that pushed us to sign up for the marathon.

How long have you been running? What does it mean to you?

If I’m honest I’m actually not a runner! I used to run more when I was younger in school, and I’ve always tried to go for runs here and there but never really stuck with it. Both me and my boyfriend really wanted to challenge and push ourselves this year after being locked in doors for so long. It took Max a bit of persuading, but we thought we might as well give it a go, especially if we are able to support a very important charity!

Max is the same, although he’s never been into running properly, he does a lot of different physical exercise and always loves a challenge.

Have you started your training? If so how is It going?

We have started training yes! Because we’re not used to running far, the first couple long runs were very challenging, but I am happily surprised with how each long run is getting easier. Seeing the progress is really rewarding, and although there have been some runs where we are just not feeling it- we’ve been able to help motivate each other to get back on track.

When everything opens up, we are also starting personal training sessions together to really push us and get the most out of our training.

“And of course we’re excited to reach the finish line! It will definitely be the biggest achievement of our lives so far.”

What are you looking forward to about your run? What are you nervous about?

I think we are both feeling as nervous as each other – I’m especially nervous about reaching the half-way point, knowing we will have to complete another of what we have just done. Both our parents thought we were mad signing up (because we’re not runners), so it will be amazing to show that we have actually completed it.

We’re looking forward to running alongside all the other runners, which will definitely be a massive motivation.

And of course we’re excited to reach the finish line! It will definitely be the biggest achievement of our lives so far, and I can’t wait to see how much money we can raise in the upcoming months (we’ve so nearly already reached our target!).

Want to join the Grassroots Runners and be part of our community of dedicated fundraisers?

Sign up here

Did you know 1 in 5 people will have suicidal thoughts at some point in their lives?

With your generosity, we can help people stay safe and provide the support they need in times of crisis