About 600 runners and walkers turned out to take part in the annual Mind Your Head Fun Run.
The crowds gathered in Cunningsburgh for the ninth event and were put through their paces by the “Jazzercise girls” who demonstrated a couple of routines to get the participants warmed up for the main event which included 5k and 10k routes.
Dark clouds were circling as the masses warmed up and as the run itself got under way the heavens opened – if only for a short time – but that did not seem to dampen the spirits of those taking part.
Mind Your Head chairwoman Shona Manson was delighted with the community’s “fantastic” support for the event the mental health awareness charity’s biggest event of the year. She told The Shetland Times more than 400 folk had pre-registered for the event this year – a record number.
But there were still plenty registering yesterday, queuing to get their white event T-shirt, this year sponsored by T.L Dallas. “We have got 600 T-shirts ordered and I’m pretty sure we will get rid of them,” Shona said prior to the start of the run.
“It is brilliant [to see so many people] because while it is a fund-raiser the really important thing is people coming along and thinking about mental health, what that means for them, for family members and for the community as a whole.
“While we know we need support services, and health services, it is important we all know we have an individual part to play in supporting each other, being open and no shying away from that conversation about mental health.”
Mind Your Head project worker Chris Wright was equally enthused by the numbers.
“It’s about getting folk together and getting people talking about mental health – having 700 people blether over a cup of tea about afterwards about mental health.”
He added: “By talking about mental health it breaks down that stigma that people may have about mental health, particularly suicide.”
Among those taking part in the 10k run was Julia Johnston, who was part of a fund-raising group running in memory of her sister Vaila Tait. Through a combination of sponsorship and events, including a Chinese night, the group had raised about £2,000 for Mind Your Head, she said.
She said: “There’s a group of us doing it for my peerie sister that passed away this year. Her best friend organised it. There were a group of about 15 did a Chinese night and the run today. We all wore loom bands in her memory”
She said Ann-Marie Goudie, Sadie Tait and Shona Tait had been the main group organisers.
At the end of the race it was time for many of the participants to head into the Cunningsburgh Hall and enjoy a well-earned Sunday tea – and a blether about mental health.
For more on the fun-run and more news from Mind Your Head see this week’s Shetland Times.