Run yourself happy – The ‘miracle cure’ improving Brit’s mental health.

RunTogether have recently launched the next phase of their RunTogether campaign which focuses on the impact running has on mental health and well-being.

Their findings follow a year-long survey of over 13,000 people across England…

Whilst the physical benefits of running are well known, new research released reveals that improvements in emotional health and wellbeing are being experienced by an extraordinary three-quarters of runners.

In the first major poll* of its kind, questioning 13,200 people over 12 months between September 2016 and August 2017, 74% of runners said they felt running was good for their mental wellbeing.

In an additional survey** of the England Athletics’ RunTogether community, a staggering 89% of all runners said they had increased happiness as a direct result of running with others or in a group. Plus, running in groups brings other benefits. The poll showed that group runners were more likely to be regular runners (62%) when compared to solo runners (51%).

Experts confirm that running, especially in a group, can do wonders for mental health.

“Physical exercise improves a person’s well-being by releasing endorphins, the body’s ‘feel good’ hormones. Studies show that in mild to moderate depression patients who exercise regularly do as well as those prescribed antidepressant medications or talking therapies.” Dr Averil McClelland, GP and elite Masters Athlete.

Commenting on the findings, Matt Birkett, Head of Participation at England Athletics, said: “At a time when mental health is a such key concern for society, it’s great to formally acknowledge that something as simple as running with others can make such a significant difference to happiness and emotional wellbeing. Whether you’re contemplating lacing up in preparation for your first walk-jog or training for a specific event, being around other people who share your goals and motivation can be a powerful influence and the highly accessible RunTogether website means it’s easier than ever to find a local running group.”

The results of this research reinforce the huge success of England Athletics’ RunTogether programme, which breaks down barriers for individuals new to running, and helps them to build confidence, establish relationships and cope with the daily stresses of life. Over 40,000 people have registered to join RunTogether, seeking opportunities to run with others, since the programme launched in January 2017. Read the full news story here.

In support of this article Active Devon have contributed to the rapid growth in running groups across Devon. Last year 51 new beginner running groups in workplaces, community hubs and at school gates, had been created and over 500 people started running. Active Devon have also supported a number of people to become Run Leaders through ongoing communication from our local development co-ordinators, linking local networks and promoting the England Athletics Leadership in Running Fitness, (LiRF) courses. Keep an eye on our training course page for future LiRF courses or contact us at for more information on running groups in your area.