22 Oct Eat, Drink, Run – How Bryony Gordon Became A Mental Health & Marathon Inspiration
When the Daily and Sunday Telegraph journalist Bryony Gordon was invited to join a gathering at Kensington Palace in 2016, she never expected this would be the catalyst to inspire her to run her first marathon. But after asking The Duchess of Cambridge whether SHE would be running the London Marathon, Bryony randomly announced “If I can do the marathon, you can.”
This Heads Together event inspired Bryony to start training, to go for a goal that would have seemed unbelievable to many people and yet she became determined to represent the charity, not let down Princes William and Harry, and the Duchess of Cambridge, and to achieve more than Bryony herself had believed was possible. She would run the London Marathon in April 2017.
In her book Eat, Drink, Run: How I Got Fit Without Going Too Mad, the journalist takes the reader on her journey of her inspiration to start running, her falls (literal), and her battles to form a positive training habit until we follow her to reach her marathon goal. But Bryony’s story is far more than a training self help memoir.
By opening up about her own battles against OCD, alcohol, drugs and bulimia, Bryony was able to act positively to inspire others to open up and accept it is ok and positive to talk about our mental health. She has been able to inspire others and bring inspiration to herself to run and raise money for Heads Together as well as be the founder of Mental Health Mates.
As she was running in one of her early sessions, Bryony was listening to a podcast about Carson McCullers, an author who suffered from depression and alcoholism. A quote at the end of the podcast: “All people belong to a We except me” spurred Gordon to seek out her own “We”, other people with mental health whom she could relate to and speak openly with.
By tweeting an invite to meet up at the Serpentine Gallery for a walk on 14th February, 2016, Bryony started a supportive group Mental Health Mates where people could link up to walk in beautiful surroundings and have the opportunity to chat about their mental health as well as other topics. Their motto sums up their aim “Helping you find your We. Because you are not alone.”
And Bryony was invited to that Heads Together event in 2016 because she had opened up the discussion about mental health in her newspaper column – therefore spurring her to achieve her huge goal to run the London Marathon.
The other part of the author’s journey involves her inspiration by Prince Harry who encouraged her to run and acknowledged his appreciation that she was opening up the mental health discussion and linking people through Mental Health Mates. Bryony’s support from Prince Harry brings in his own story of his battles which he had hidden from the world – the trauma of losing his mother when he was twelve and bottling up the anxiety as well as his military experiences. Bryony took the risk to invite the prince to open up about his mental health experiences – and she proves you can only achieve something if you take the risk.
Prince Harry was the first guest on Bryony Gordon’s Mad World – in which he speaks honestly and emotionally about his own experiences. It is a pure connection of acceptance between two individuals who linked through one of the taboo subjects of our period. Bryony had been mentally at one of her lowest points when she had forced herself to attend the Heads Together event in the summer of 2016.
But by April 2017, she had changed her attitude towards her running and her whole life – knowing what her body could achieve as she developed the determined and positive mindset.
This year, Bryony has continued to inspire others and achieve her own goals by running the London Marathon for Heads Together in her underwear! She aimed to boost body positivity and show that marathon runners can be any shape or size. She also celebrated one year of being alcohol free in August 2018.
Bryony’s journey to achievement is ongoing and she opens up on the difficulties we can all face but often hide away while we put on our smiles and our successful professional persona. Her positive message in opening up about her own mental health has inspired others such as Prince Harry to be open, and she has drawn many like minded people together to support each other.
Her experience to run her marathons has proved she needed to be inspired by others and to take on advice and encouragement from others. She achieved her biggest goal by herself, through her own determination and commitment – but by sharing her experience she was rewarded by positive support to help HER reach her own goals. Bryony proved to be a shining example of her group Mental Health Mates’ motto:
“Helping you find your We. Because you are not alone.”