I get by with a little help from my friends
– John Lennon

The year of 2012 arrived just 6 days ago, and already, I’m up to my eyeballs in marathon running schedules, Pilates and healthy eating plans, all in preparation for my 4races4cities project. My first race is only months away, and the panic-button in my head has seemingly activated.  See, I missed over two weeks of planned training, due to a horrible cold and then a bout of gastroenteritis over the festive period and now, my fitness is a shadow of its former self. My first run, a week ago, a mere 5K, felt like hell; I wheezed and winced my way round, every step felt like I had lead in my trainers, and my chest felt like it had been tightened in a vice. But, I’m plodding on. My friends have gathered around me, like a protective wall, and are always on hand to bolster my spirits when my enthusiasm wanes and I’m whining about my achy limbs. Huge, immeasurable thanks goes to Louise, for the sports massages and endless nutrition advice, and Tim, who runs with me on the dark nights and creates playlists for me to boost my mental energy on the hellish, longer runs. One friend, however, has gone above and beyond the parameters of support, firstly, she offered to run not one, but two half-marathons with me, and then yesterday, she emailed me and asked if she could help to raise money for my chosen charity, Mind.

My heart is literally bursting with gratitude.

I asked Priscilla to write something for this post, because she has a story too; it seems mental health carves a deep wound in all of us, and no matter how many years have passed, our scars are still visible.

Hello everyone, my name is Priscilla and Liz and I have been friends for about 4 years now.  My story is not much different to most, but it’s different to some, in that I decided to make a positive change in my life about 2 years ago and this is where my love for running started. Unfortunately, some people are unaware of their own mental health and this causes problems in the long term. Having lost one of my best friends and my uncle to suicide, I am joining Liz in her campaign to raise money for MIND, a very worthy cause for anyone suffering from mental problems, no matter how big or small.  Liz and I ran our first half marathon together last year and now I will join her to run the Paris and Iceland half-marathons this year.  Some may argue, “I must be mental to do this” – which may be true, but I’m going to give it my best shot.  Please help us raise as much money as possible for this fantastic charity by donating here: http://justgiving.com/4races4cities

On behalf of Priscilla and myself, thank you. Your donations mean the world to both of us (and help us to keep on running when our bodies don’t particularly want to).