Patrick shares how he’s keeping up his weekly jogs with friends

Jog On Friends

Chances are you’re reading this sitting behind your computer, slightly sore back and tired eyes. We get it – with our usual routines out the window and all of us spending a lot of time indoors, it’s hard to keep up with exercise.

According to Mind’s Five ways to wellbeing, being active is vital to looking after our health. And these days, it can be especially beneficial for our wellbeing. That’s the theory. Now how do you make it happen? Patrick Bevan has found a way.

Patrick has a busy job in Risk Advisory, but he’s still sticking to his running regularly to keep fit and focused. He’s in good company too – and no, we’re not just talking about Ripley, his two-year-old red setter (and somewhat of trip hazard…).

We spoke one lunchtime before his afternoon jog to hear about how he’s doing it – and how you can join.

Friends will be friends

“A group of us became friends after completing the 2017 Deloitte Ride Across Britain together – I guess cycling 980 miles for nine days does that to you! We wanted to find a way to stay in touch after that, so we set up the ‘JogOn’ running club.

We head out for a chatty jog every Wednesday lunchtime from our London gym, and run a 5k loop across Blackfriars or Westminster Bridge while we catch up on work and life. There’s usually between 10 and 15 of us, but we always run at the speed of the slowest.

For the past few years, our regular run has been a moment of release I looked forward to all week. Since lockdown measures came into place and with all of us working remotely, I really missed our regular slot in the diary, so we decided to take it virtual.”

If it’s not on Strava it didn’t happen

“We’ve kept the running slot in the diary so that we all still head out at the same time – from 12.30 to 13.30 on Wednesdays. To make it easier to stay connected, we set up the ‘Virtual JogOn’ group on Strava, the running app, where we share our routes, pictures and comments.

We’ve really enjoyed getting some exercise as a group while taking a break from our screen – always respecting the government’s advice of course, keeping a safe distance and avoiding narrow cut throughs. We wanted to encourage others to keep up healthy habits too, so we decided to open the group up to anyone in the firm who wanted to join.

Anybody with a pair of trainers is welcome to join. If you’re a complete beginner or can’t run, don’t worry – walk, hop or even skip! Do what works for you. When I first started running, I used the ‘lamppost to lamppost’ technique – I ran until I reached a lamppost, walked to the next one and so on. Before I knew it I was running more than I was walking. The ‘Couch to 5k’ app is pretty good too.”

Runners with a cause

The rules are simple:

  1. Get out there and enjoy the sun and fresh air for your daily exercise as currently permitted by the Government. Don’t let the rain stop you – we are all waterproof
  2. Aim to run between 12:30-13:30 on Wednesdays (other days and times count too)
  3. Join the ‘Virtual JogOn’ club on Strava. Post your run with #VirtualJogOn
  4. Anyone can join in, even family members and friends!
  5. You can even support our fundraising to support the impact of COVID-19

Mental health awareness and wellbeing is a passion of mine – so much so a group of us converted one of December’s JogOn runs into a half marathon (four laps!) to publicise my role as relationship manager for Mind, one of our One Million Futures partners. I’m now looking to further support this initiative – for every Wednesday lunchtime run I do, I will donate £1 per kilometer to our Coronavirus fundraising appeal in aid of our charities.”

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