Running free, feeling great

Imagine jogging through the trees, with the wind in your hair, a smile on your face and surrounded by nature. You’re jogging simply for the fun of jogging, with no competition against anyone else. Sounds like the perfect recipe for feeling great, doesn’t it?

That’s why the partnership between Jog Derbyshire, Derbyshire MIND and the National Trust in creating the Kedleston Hall Trails has proven so successful.

Earlier this year saw the handover of a £1,000 cheque to Derbyshire MIND – the culmination of a year of working together on the monthly event. For not only are the people attending getting so much out of it, but their entry fee for the jog of just £2 is a worthy contribution to the work of the local charity.

Jogging through nature

The Kedleston Hall Trails started out as a partnership between Jog Derbyshire and the National Trust – giving people the opportunity to be active while enjoying the wonderful setting of Kedleston Hall in a social, non-competitive atmosphere. The partnership not only created an accessible route but on-site provisions like the café allow friendships made during the run to be continued afterwards over coffee and cake.

Fiona Bridges, Visitor Experience Manager at Kedleston said: “One of the National Trust’s founding purposes was the ambition to provide people with access to beautiful and healthy green spaces. We are proud to be partnering with Jog Derbyshire and Derbyshire MIND welcoming local joggers to Kedleston’s parkland to enjoy the physical and mental benefits of getting active outdoors.”

Boosting mental health

With joggers regularly telling their stories of how the combination of nature, jogging and new friends has had a positive influence on their mental health, it was only a natural fit for Derbyshire MIND to make the partnership trio complete last year.

Andy Brooks is a Trustee at Derbyshire MIND and a Jog Derbyshire leader with Shelton Striders. He’s long been passionate about the effect of jogging on mental health, taking part in his own running challenges to raise money for the charity as well as playing a major part in the organisation of the Kedleston Hall Trails each month.

He said: “It’s really important for people and organisations to work together to help improve mental health. It’s not about competing with others. It’s about finding someone an activity which works for them and suits where they live, their ability and what they enjoy doing.

“One of the reasons jogging is so good for mental health is it’s easy to set a goal – for example getting to 5k when you’ve never run before is a massive achievement. It’s important however to encourage people to measure their achievements against themselves, rather than others. It doesn’t always matter about getting the fastest time and that’s why Kedleston is so popular.”

Denice Delgado is a mental health campaigner for HeadsTogether. She joined joggers on the Kedleston Trail. She describes running as her ‘rock’ in helping her manage her mental health.

She said: “I met the most inspiring group of people in the beautiful Derbyshire countryside. A welcoming and friendly group with runners of all abilities and different ages coming together with expert and natural leaders, to encourage exercise. From the onset of the warm up, the key aims of not being under pressure to perform was transparent.

“The adventure of running in nature, through woodland trees, over wooden bridges, listening to birds tweeting and the waterfall splashes. It was a lovely trail run from beginning to end with smiles and laughter. Making new friends, catching up with old friends, exchanging hugs, running in nature followed by coffee and cake.”

Open to everyone

Over the past year the event has become more and more popular. Up to 100 people regularly come along each month with Christmas Eve 2017 reaching record numbers of people laughing and chatting their way around in Santa hats.

Helen Treece is a Jog Derbyshire jog leader at Allestree Aces and is a regular volunteer at Kedleston. She said, “The non-competitive nature of the event and the wonderful setting that we have, courtesy of the National Trust, makes it attractive and accessible to all abilities. Whether people are there to push their physical boundaries, make new friends or just de-stress in the tranquillity of the park, everybody leaves with a smile on their face.”

The future

The Kedleston magic is here to stay but one of the great things about it is the freedom it has to translate beyond the confinements of one location.

Derbyshire is a county full of beautiful places perfect for bringing people together to enjoy being active in the great outdoors. Not only for trail running but for other activities which lend themselves being with others and enjoying nature – such as cycling and walking.

We’d love the opportunity to develop more of this work across Derbyshire. If you’d like to find out more about working with us in a similar way please get in touch using the contact us form below.

Watch the video

To get a feel for the sights and sounds of the Kedleston Hall Trails watch the video below.

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