Joanna Jurek running for AMH this September
30 August 2019
A PhD student preparing to run the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in aid of Action Mental Health is running to help others, but also to maintain her own mental health.
Joanna Jurek started to pound the pavement as she ran the gauntlet of her undergraduate studies, knowing that the stresses of student life would be alleviated by the scientifically proven benefits to mental health of exercise.
The 23-year-old from Poland moved to Northern Ireland in 2015 and felt, for a time during her final year at university, that her mental health was more vulnerable than usual. So she donned her running shoes as a way of coping.
“I found running very enjoyable and now I cannot imagine a day without running or some cardio or physical activity,” she said.
Joanna, who is about to start the second year of her doctorate at Ulster University’s Nutrition Innovation Centre for Food and Health, explained: “I chose Action Mental health, because running helped me a lot with maintaining good mental and physical health. Thanks to running I am able to boost my memory and mood levels every morning and set myself up for the day, so I personally do believe that running helps boost mental health.
“Because this year I am running my first half-marathon, this is some sort of celebration and new challenge for me.”
Joanna intends to keep up her active lifestyle in future with ambitions towards climbing challenges, walks – and maybe even a full marathon next year!
Raising money for Action Mental Health at the 2019 Deep River Rock Belfast City Half Marathon means tangible financial support for a charity committed to ensuring Northern Ireland’s younger generation is mentally resilient and ready for their future.