Our annual 8km Run/Walk in turlough took place on Sunday morning. A group of over 300 people took off from the beautiful surroundings of Turlough house, with many more standing by to lend a supporting hand.
The freezing 'Scandinavian Wind' did little to deter this enthusiastic crowd who were eager for PJ Murphy, chairman of Mayo Mental Health Association, to cut the ribbon so they could get moving. There was a fine mix of prime athletes, casual joggers, fast-walkers and children of every age, adding to what was a contagious, upbeat atmosphere.
John Byrne maintained his title as undisputed champion of the race, crossing the line first in an impressive 26.3 minutes. Hot on his heels was the a young Thomas Devaney who cooly collected the 2nd place prize, and was tipped for "a bright future in athletics". Behind him in 3rd place was Cathal McHale.
First over the line for the ladies was an emotional Colette Tuohy after a fantastic 32.57 minutes. Behind her in 2nd place was Marion O'Malley and in 3rd place came Michelle Needham.
Other medal winners included Jake O'Brien(U16 boys), Briana McGee(U16 girls), Monica Joyce(Ladies Over 50) and Tom O'Toole(Men Over 50).
There was a wonderful party atmosphere surrounding the day, with a nice array of tunes, an endless supply of tempting food and most importantly, plenty of craic!
Afterwards, Chairman PJ Murphy was on hand to lend some wise words to the crowd who by now, had tucked into the impressive array of well deserved refreshments. He quite rightly reminded everyone, "You are all winners.", reiterating the fact that the day was about much more than competing.
It was encouraging to learn the extent to which the event has amplified since it started five years ago. Niall Dunne, Manager at Mayo Mental Health Association proudly compared this years fantastic turnout to that of the "forty or so people we had at the first run", adding that it was "fantastic to see".
If the growth of this particular event is any reflection on how our attitudes towards mental health are steadily improving, then we are certainly moving in the right direction. The positive impact of days like these have on promoting positive mental health in the community cannot be underestimated. Seeing the community out in full force, like they were on Sunday, contributes greatly to dismantling the taboo surrounding mental health and bringing it into everyday conversation.
The smooth running of the day was helped by the combined efforts of Parke-Keelouges-Crimlin Gaa Club, the team of various volunteers, the people of Turlough House, all here at Mayo Mental Health and every single person who gleefully turned up. They ensured that all present had the most enjoyable experience they could and bucket loads of tea to fight the chilly breeze.
A special note of thanks to Frank Cloherty and Patrick Dunne who are part of a three man committee and work tirelessly alongside Niall Dunne in making the day such as success.
The day was capped off by the thoughtful words of PJ Murphy;
"Your mental health belongs to you, mind it, share it and above all, don't hide it."
Below are some pictures from the day itself - enjoy
This blog was written by Andrew McGinley who is a blogger/freelance writer from Co. Galway. You can read more of his pieces on his blog 'The Write Hand' here thewritehandblog.wordpress.com
Stayed tuned to our regular monthly updates on all matters covering mental health