A run for a smile: Annual Aware Christmas Run

The great Christmas charity event is set to kick off again in Dublin. Get your trainers on and participate in the annual Aware Christmas run, raising funds for mental health in Ireland. 

Overcoming Thanksgiving could be done with a smile. Christmas and New Year’s are when most everyone seems to ooze good cheer and merriment. But, what do you do when the world around you is wrapped in red and green and you’re feeling blue? We can call it the dark side of Christmas because, in the mayhem of imposed joy and happiness, feeling down seems to go against how one is ‘supposed to feel’ at this festive time of year.  One could only wish to run away from all of this. Well, let’s say that with the Annual Aware Christmas run, this might be possible.

Depression is different from feeling glum or sad. A person suffering from depression will experience intense emotions of anxiety, hopelessness, negativity and helplessness, and the feelings stay with them, no matter what holiday is to be celebrated.

Recently Eurofound carried out a survey and found some interesting results. Over 10% of young people in Ireland are chronically depressed.  More than 450,000 people in Ireland experience depression (1 in 10) at any one time but many hide their condition and never get help.

It’s here that several NGOs and charity organisations come into play and provide help to support you. Aware is one of those. Beginning as a support group in Dublin, it has grown and flourished to become a nationwide presence which has saved many lives and has, for countless others, supported people with the suffering and distress that depression can bring. Aware bases its work on three main milestone principles: information, education and support. 

Aware’s message is one of hope: recovery is possible. 

Therefore, for this Christmas, Aware decided to get back in the game. Their annual Christmas run is organised, raising awareness for mental health conditions, and especially collecting funds for the research and psychological support for those communities and people with depression need. 

Get out your trainers, polish them up, or just dig them out from under your bed, and get ready to put them on. Get into the Christmas spirit with friends, colleagues or family – Santa hats, elf costumes and Christmas jumpers are all welcome! Save the date for 14th of December. 

The run will have two different start times. One, the 10 km, beginning at 10.00 am and the other at 10.30 am, for the 5km distance. Growing every year, the run now attracts over 2,000 people and it’s getting bigger, gathering everyone for the start in the Phoenix Park. To take part in this extremely cheerful and fun event, a donation is required. In fact, by registering here, you’ll be able to make a donation and paying the €26 per person to participate is for a great cause. 

It is a great way to raise money (through participation, sponsorship or donations) for Aware’s nationwide free-of-charge support, education and information services for people who experience depression or bipolar disorder and their loved ones. On the morning of the Aware Christmas Run, be sure to be at Chesterfield Avenue, where it intersects with Furze Road, this is where it all will start and finish. 

Being a proper run as it is, medals for all participants will be given out. Whether you are a seasoned runner, a casual-Sunday jogger, or a sneaky amateur fond of walks in the park, the run welcomes you all. If you feel you don’t belong in any of the previous categories, but would still like to get involved, you still volunteer your time on the day by clicking here

Among the sponsors, there will be Cadburys. They will be providing their best hot chocolates, along with other treats and snacks for the coldest weather. In order to reduce single-use plastic, Aware will provide you with compostable cups and bottles of water. 

Finally, there is good evidence that exercise can lift your mood. It can take your mind off your depression as well as stimulate the release of endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are neurotransmitters produced in the pituitary gland in the brain that produce feelings of happiness and joy. So, go run with a smile, and, more importantly, run for those who can’t really smile anymore. Help give them one. Participate in the Aware Christmas Run.

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Carlotta Cutrale

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