The fourth annual Round Spiggie Fun Run/Walk in aid of the mental health charity Mind Your Head was “outstanding”, according to organiser Shona Manson.
The weather was glorious for the event and a total of 563 people took part, up from last year’s 420 entries.
Shona said: “The numbers keep going up and have more than doubled since the first run in 2006.”
Around 265 pre-registered and nearly 300 more arrived on the day, with lots of babies and dogs taking part in a real family event.
Although the day raised money it was primarily about raising awareness of mental health, Ms Manson said. “The money’s great but the event is about people thinking how can I improve my mental health or somebody else’s?”
And it was also about having fun in a scenic area, with participants, ranging in age from three months to over 80, choosing to either walk or run five or 10 kilometres, according to their ability.
Although some elite athletes took part it was definitely not a race. “Nobody gets a prize”, said Ms Manson. “It about each individual doing what’s achievable for them.”
The organisers would like to thank Sumburgh Hotel manager Mark Donaldson for sponsoring the T-shirts which sported a mental health message on the back so that walkers could get inspiration from the person in front.
And participants got physical sustenance from teas at Dunrossness Public Hall afterwards, with queues stretching out of the door.
Mind Your Head works closely with NHS Shetland and a number of NHS personnel took part in the event. The charity will use funds to sponsor a mental health self-help facilitator to slot into the NHS Shetland’s mental health team.
The post is currently being advertised – Ms Manson said the job description has been “tweaked” slightly to encourage more people to apply.
Mind Your Head also works with Shetland Recreational Trust, as physical activity is known to be beneficial to mental health. All pre-registrations for Sunday’s event received a voucher for a swim or gym session.
The charity is also helping SRT get the Relax Kids programme into primary schools. This teaches children techniques to “de-stress” which can be carried into adulthood.