Rich Williamson has wholeheartedly dedicated his life to running. After realising that a 9-5 desk job wasn’t right for him, he took the risk of completely changing his path, finding true fulfilment in this new career that pushed his limits and allowed him to reach goals that he’d never thought possible. In March, Rich completed a full 365 days of running consecutively– through sharing his journey online and collaborating with brands, he motivates others to use running as a means to positively impact their mental health and overall wellbeing.
Rich will be working with the Grassroots Runners this year to help them in their running journeys – he will be answering any questions about training, endurance, long distance runs and much more!
We spoke to Rich about what running means to him and why he chose to support Grassroots.
“Running is now a key factor for me to stay mentally healthy.”
How long have you been running? What made you start?
My running journey started in 2016 after returning from some time away travelling. The demands of life in London, both career and social, were beginning to become a struggle to deal with and I quickly found that time outdoors and running was just the release I needed to get myself mentally and physically fit.
What does running mean for you and your mental health?
Running is now a key factor for me to stay mentally healthy. As the pandemic took hold back early last year I quickly lost a lot of my work and began to struggle financially. I turned to running as a way of managing that worry and staying in control of the ever changing situation. In the end I ran for 365 consecutive days!
“I feel this is my way to make an impact and help the runners achieve amazing things for Grassroots.”
Why are you supporting the Grassroots Runners this year?
I heard about Grassroots through a friend who is running Brighton Half Marathon and London Marathon for the charity this year. Having lost a young friend to suicide in recent years, opening up the conversation around mental health and suicide prevention is hugely important to me. As a passionate runner, I feel this is my way to make an impact and help the runners achieve amazing things for Grassroots.
What key training and race-day advice would you give to a first-time runner?
Starting your marathon training will put new demands on your body. One of the most important ‘sessions’ in your training plan is the rest day! Allowing your body time to recover will keep you feeling fresh and ready for the next long run or interval session.
On race day it’s important to not do anything that you haven’t practiced in training. Eat the same breakfast, wear the same lucky socks, do the same pre-run warmup. Keep the pre-race routine as normal as possible so you can focus on enjoying the experience!
If you’re a Grassroots Runner this year, join us at our free virtual meetup on 13th May. Rich and the Grassroots Runners team will be talking about the impact your fundraising will make and answering any questions you might have ahead of your event!