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After Boris eased lockdown restrictions, it fired the starting gun to boost mental health for millions. Last week, one of the sector’s governing bodies, England Athletics, published guidelines giving event organisers an official ‘green light’ to start staging organised races again, provided they are “Covid-secure”.

Co-founder of RunThrough Matt Wood, staged a very successful events day at Kempton Park on Saturday where 500 runners completed 5k, 10h, half marathon and marathon events. The website traffic on RunThrough was up 100% as runners stretched their legs, head outdoors and re-connected with race friends after the lock lockdown misery.

  • 7 million people across UK (almost one in 10) turned to running or jogging to care for their mental health during Covid crisis, Macmillan Cancer Support survey revealed last month
  • One in seven in UK (14%) told charity that going running or jogging had helped them to de-stress since the first lockdown last March
  • 43% of UK runners exercising more now than before pandemic; 82% of UK runners say running plays a key role in helping them clear their mind during lockdown, according to survey by top running brand ASICS
  • RunThrough’s first 2021 Covid-secure events attracted 500 runners on Easter Saturday April 3 when 5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon events were staged at Kempton Park racecourse.
  • BBC Television attended Kempton Park to report on RunThrough’s return event day, broadcasting live to 6 million viewers on BBC One’s ‘Breakfast’ show

The leading mass-participation running events and endurance sports organiser also announced plans to help host 200 races during the next year – a welcome Easter treat for Britain’s estimated 7 million runners.

Matt Wood, RunThrough’s Co-Founder and a former International distance runner, said: “This is the brilliant news our community have all been waiting for.

“After last year’s lockdown, between August and December, we put on around 25% of all races in the UK, with Covid awareness measures in place. We’ve gained more experience than any other UK events company in staging events in this safe way.

“Now, after people have been cooped up in lockdown for months, huge pent-up demand from runners has built up. We’ve seen a major surge in bookings for our 2021 events calendar and our website traffic has shot up by over 100%.”

RunThrough Founders Matt Wood and Ben Green pioneered their ‘Covid Safety Protocol’ last autumn involving 20 strict measures ensuring runners and race marshals stayed safe.

RunThrough Covid-Safe Race video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WIvVUGNWNk

A Bit About Matt Wood…
Matt Wood, 34, an ex-England track athlete, who before lockdown staged 136 UK events in 2019 attracting  122,000 runners, added: “This year, we’re expecting our 200 events to attract between 150,000-180,000 people.

“Last year, we developed a blueprint for Covid-safe races. Before race day, to reduce contact, we sent out race packs to runners early so participants can arrive ‘ready-to-race’. When people arrive at our race village, they are greeted by marshals, some wearing full-face visors and all wearing PPE.

“As well as face shields, our staff also wear gloves to reduce the risk of germ transmission. We have sanitiser stations with hand gels and runners are discouraged from bringing belongings so we can reduce contact with others in baggage areas.”

RunThrough, who as well as staging mass-participation races also organise some of the fastest road-closed events in the UK involving elite athletes and regional championships, have employed other Covid-safe measures including:

  • Runners are encouraged to bring their own water bottles to eliminate the need for water stations
  • Group pre-race warmups are conducted at a socially safe distance
  • Marshals are briefed to maintain distance from runners while keeping the same friendly relationship
  • Queues for the toilet cabin facilities are distanced and cubicle hygiene
  • Signs remind runners to observe a 2-metre social distance and no spitting is allowed
  • At support desks, waist-high plastic sheeting protects stewards and runners from getting too close
  • At the start runners line up at coloured cones are laid out at distances on the ground

“Our starts are staggered and runners are guided to set off in waves of 4 to 6 to ease congestion,” added Wood. “And fast runners are asked to give slower participants space when overtaking, of around 2 metres.

RunThrough Events was founded in 2013 by Matt Wood and Ben Green. They began their friendship in their teens at  school exactly 20 years ago and went on to both become International distance runners. Today, powered by their experience as ex-England track athletes and their shared passion for running, RunThrough has grown to become one of the UK’s largest and most popular running event organisers.

During their last full year operating before Covid, RunThrough staged 140 events across the UK, attracting more than 140,000 runners. This year, as lockdown eases, they already have 200 events booked in.

RunThrough have staged events at many prestigious locations, including popular London venues such as Hyde Park, Greenwich Park, Regents Park, Clapham Common, Richmond Park and Battersea Park, as well as Hampton Court Palace, Knebworth House, Colchester Zoo, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Thorpe Park. They also collaborate with other major UK tourist attractions such as Aintree Racecourse, Tatton Park, Media City and many more.

Business duo Matt and Ben (Matt’s one year younger) work together closely as entrepreneurs. But as runners, they’re close rivals. Matt, who won an athletics scholarship to study Sports & Exercise Science at Loughborough University and also completed a Law Conversion Diploma in Law, frustratingly saw his pro career cut short in 2007 when he suffered a stress injury, breaking his femur. After surgery, and a plaster cast, he hobbled on crutches for six months.

In 2015, Ben, who also studied at Loughborough, had his own spectacular break. He broke the Guinness World Record at the London Marathon for the fastest father / son time, Ben running 2.30 and his Dad 2.31. Ben, from Warrington (Matt hails from Blackburn), now enjoys taking part in RunThrough events on a regular basis.

One of RunThrough’s missions is to encourage the promotion of active health in the UK and, by staging more than a thousand races over the years, they have made a major positive impact on their growing community. They are also proud to have raised money for a number of charities along the way.

The vibrant, health-conscious team behind RunThrough focus all their efforts on ensuring that runners who attend their events enjoy the experience, whether they’re getting a buzz from taking part in their first-ever event, chasing a Personal Best (PB), are taking part to benefit from boosting their physical health and mental wellbeing, or just want to enjoy the occasion socially and make new friends. For more details on events happening throughout this year head to the RunThrough’s website.

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We are all feeling a little down in the dumps at the moment with the depressing weather and dark days but you can help create your own energy and movement if you cannot get outside. Here are eight great ideas on how to get you moving and increase your energy.

  1. Climb the stairs even if you are not going upstairs to get something, try increasing the amount of times you climb them daily and you will soon notice how less out of breath you are after a few days of doing it.
  2. Do not sit for too long, make sure you have a regular break. Set your phone alarm to go off every 30 mins and get up and take a walk around your house. Enjoy walking around your house and admire some things you have probably not noticed for a while and you may also find a few cobwebs while walking 🙂
  3. If your phone goes stand up and put it on speaker while you chat to whoever has phoned you. Hold onto a table while chatting and move your legs from side to side. You will forget how many you have done as you will be busy chatting instead. Don’t forget to change legs.
  4. Always go for a short walk just before your lunch, if you cannot get outside to do a short walk to the bottom of your street and back then walk around your garden instead. If that’s not possible either then do a lap of the whole house and count your steps as you are doing it. You will amazed how many steps you will be doing.
  5. If you are working from home, try and make your working space user friendly so that you can do the odd stretch or sit and meditate for a short while. Check out some desk exercises online.
  6. Avoid blue light at night so that you will get a great nights sleep ready for another great day.
  7. Drink lots and lots of fluid during the day and try to eat at regular times. This can help with weight loss as well as wellbeing.
  8. Finally, buy a houseplant – it’s a well known fact that plants are good for you as they purify the air. They also boost your energy and help you sleep, ease stress and make you happy. Simply looking after your plants can lift your mood and improve your wellbeing. They can help air circulation, which can prevent the spread of viruses! To find which plants and where to put them buy this book Houseplants for a Healthy Home: 50 Indoor Plants to Help You Breathe Better, Sleep Better, and Feel Better All Year Round by John VanZile from Amazon at £10.65 (Hardcover).

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Coping with Fibromyalgia is hard enough for any of us but one of the biggest problems we face is cooking. It may sound stupid to others but to us its a chore that can leave us feeling exhausted and in pain.

Many of us find that we cannot stand for long periods of time so doing the vegetables or decorating a cake are painful for us.

The easiest way to get around these problems is to plan ahead for the week.

If you have some children or a partner at home that can help prepare some meals, then delegate the difficult jobs for them to do.

Concentrate on foods with multiple uses by making a stew that can last two meals, like a roast chicken, followed by a chicken salad or a chicken curry.

Crockpots can be a godsend in the winter for Fibromyalgia sufferers, just get help with your preparation of vegetables then pop it all in the pot and forget about it until its mealtime.

Try and have one afternoon where you could cook three or four meals in one hit, using left-overs to make soup or casseroles, and only cook when you are ‘in less pain or on a good day’. If your best time is in the morning then cook then, if it’s in the afternoon then cook then.

I get my husband to prepare all the vegetables for me and nearly always make two meals at one time. I love baking (one would never have known!) and keep all my ingredients in a basket which I can put on the table which enables me to sit down to bake.

It is a bit easier at this time of year as casseroles are ideal and you can get vegetable packs for those, just throw in a bit of garlic, a red wine stock pot and bobs your uncle.

Health Central say Why Stand When You Can Sit: The reason why cooking is so painful for most people is the prolonged periods of time standing and walking around. Try moving that cutting board to the table and chop while sitting. Try moving those green beans to the living room and snap while sitting or reclining. Remember to sit properly and get up properly when it is time to stand up.

Eating Well have six great tips on how to avoid back pain while cooking.

1.Get a supportive mat. Adding soft cushioning beneath your feet in the form of a foam or gel mat may make you more comfortable while slicing and dicing.

2.Use a cookbook stand. Think about how much time you spend hunched over the countertop reading a cookbook.

3.Store heavy items wisely. Quit crouching down low or getting on your tiptoes to reach for large, weighty items like the food processor, panini press, mixer, or bread machine.

4. Be careful when bending. Whether you’re bending down to pick up a dropped carrot or your stand mixer, you want your legs to do the work of lifting, not your back.

5.Speaking of workouts: Exercise your abs. Having a strong core will help keep your back strong, and finally,

6. Take breaks. Often, cooking calls for a “hurry up and wait” approach.


  1. Limit your dairy intake and use low fat milk, cheese or yoghurt
  2. If it’s during the day and you are desperate to get a job done then go for the chocolate or cheese option but don’t make a habit of it.
  3. Tea or coffee but again only during the day and NEVER taken after 6pm or your evening sleep will be interrupted. Some good teas to drink are Chamomile and dandelion chai and of course green tea. Tea contains 2 things that appear to offer health benefits: polyphenols and theanine which they say have a lot more to offer for people suffering from Fibromyalgia and CFS.
  4. Eat your greens.
  5. Eat Protein – Getting enough protein in your diet is especially important because your body needs it for growth and maintenance. Protein is directly responsible for about 20% of the material in your cells and tissues. Animal-based proteins (such as milk, meat, fish, poultry, and eggs) will give you the amino acids your body needs to build protein.
  6. Avoiding aspartame can dramatically reduce pain and improve cognitive function in many.
  7. Add dark-colored fruits, including berries, which are also recommended.
  8. Herbs that may help with symptoms of chronic fatigue include: Ginseng (Panax ginseng) may help improve energy (100 – 300 mg 2 times per day). One test-tube study found that ginseng and echinacea increased the immune response in cells taken from people with CFS. But no studies have been done where people took ginseng for CFS. Ginseng can increase the risk of bleeding, especially if you already take blood-thinners such as clopidogrel (Plavix), warfarin (Coumadin), or aspirin. Ginseng also may interact with several drugs, including those taken for diabetes or to suppress the immune system. People with heart disease, schizophrenia, diabetes, or those with hormone-sensitive cancers — including breast, uterine, ovarian, or prostate cancer — should not take ginseng.
  9. Echinacea (Echinacea species) may help boost the immune system (200 mg 2 times per day). No studies, however, have looked at echinacea as a treatment for CFS in people. People with autoimmune disease, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, should not take echinacea.
  10. Take flaxseed oil as all those omega 3’s and 6’s are a great way to get the blood flowing and the creaky joints moving.