Runner sets up 2020 fundraiser for Mentally Fit EP

Local runner Sam Barlow has begun appealing for keen runners to join his fundraiser for mental health in 2020, Running out of Eyre.

Sam Barlow running in the Hubert One Hundred in the Flinders Ranges last year.

Sam Barlow running in the Hubert One Hundred in the Flinders Ranges last year.

People are being encouraged to sign up and find sponsors per kilometre they run next year, with the aim of raising several thousand dollars for local organisation Mentally Fit EP.

"It's for raising funds and awareness around mental health, and to get people out and get moving," said Mr Barlow.

"All the money raised is going to Mentally Fit EP...they do a lot of great things on the Eyre Peninsula."

Mr Barlow formed the page in mid-November and said the name for the came about because "when you go for a hard run you run out of air".

He said members of the Grumpy Runners Group, based in Port Lincoln, were some of the people keen to get involved as they too aimed to get people "out and about".

Mr Barlow said runners will use the Strava app to track kilometres, and could find several sponsors for their runs.

He said he had two sponsors for himself on board, with the aim to get up to 50 cents a kilometre.

"I am aiming to run 39 kilometres a week, or 2020 in 2020," he said.

He also plans to run a marathon in the Flinders Ranges, which he has completed previously.

He said he was encouraging others to join the fundraiser and run along the "beautiful" trails in and around Port Lincoln.

He said getting out in nature was also one of the ways he tackled mental and physical health issues.

"I got to a stage in my life where I could see the slippery slope," he said.

Many studies have proven that exercise and running in particular has antidepressant-like effects and is an effective alternative to treating depression.

Sam Barlow

"I could clearly see that I was operating in a negative spin and regressing horribly which wrecked havoc with my mental health.

"Long distance running has never been an interest of mine as I was more of a short burst type sportsman.

"Going down this path (long distance running) has shown me how to learn new skills through trial and error.

"Many studies have proven that exercise and running in particular has antidepressant-like effects and is an effective alternative to treating depression."

Mr Barlow hopes to get 50 people signed up for the year-long fundraiser, which will be tallied per kilometre at the end of next year before sponsors are invoiced and a donation to the charity is made.

"Even if (people) can start by walking and eventually get to jogging or running, it's about bettering yourself, it's not a competition," he said.

"I reckon if we get about 50 people we could raise anywhere between 25 to 50 thousand dollars."

To sign up, visit the Facebook page Running out of Eyre and fill in a sponsorship form by January 1.

This story Runner aims to improve EP's mental health first appeared on Port Lincoln Times.