Your first steps towards a marathon are a walk in the park

London MarathonWere you inspired by yesterday’s London Marathon? Fancy entering next year’s, but don’t know how to get into shape? If a journey of 26 miles begins with the first step, then a 10-mile charity walk around Croydon next month could be a good first target. PETER ROGERS explains how

You would hope that everyone in this day and age is aware of the benefits to your health of eating your five fruit and veg a day. If you haven’t heard about your five a day, you’ve probably never seen anything that explains that smoking is bad for your health, either.

In the mental health sector, we also promote five-a-day. There is a well-recognised five ways to well-being which can provide you with the ingredients to improve your mental health and well-being without the guilt of trying to justify a glass of wine as technically being a fruit-based beverage.

The five ways to well-being are:
Connect – human interaction and social relationships
Be Active – doesn’t need to be intense, a walk will do
Take notice – enjoy the environment around you
Learn – find out about something or someone new
Give – participate in social or community life

But you’re busy people and all this seems a lot of bother.

But you could manage to achieve all of this by taking part in a single activity.

You could say it’s a walk in the park…

Joining Mind in Croydon for our annual Positive Steps walk in Lloyd Park on
May 9 will tick each of these boxes and, rain or shine, you will only come away feeling better about the world.

Let’s look at how:

Mind in Croydon logoConnect – many of the volunteers and some of the walkers will be people with experience of mental health problems. The stigma and discrimination faced by this group is often as bad, if not worse, than the actual issue and at the very least can make the problem worse. Social contact is the best way to change perceptions and chatting to other people is a good way to get a better understanding of how much we all have in common.

Be Active – the walk is 15km in total – a little less than 10 miles – split into three circuits, so you are able to take it at your own pace and if you wish stop after one or two laps, you can. Saying this, most of the people who set themselves a one- or two-lap target last year carried on to the end. The event is less than two weeks away, but if you got off the couch today for a preliminary 15-minute leg-stretcher, it would be a good start. Next time you’re heading for the town centre, walk it instead of taking the bus or tram. Get out for a stroll on these pleasant spring evenings. Another unexpected bonus of this is that you might miss the army of General Election canvassers banging on your door desperately wanting your vote. If you haven’t taken regular exercise for a while, it is recommended that you get a check-up with your GP.

Lloyd Park - where a charity walk can become a voyage of discovery

Lloyd Park – where a charity walk can become a voyage of discovery

Take Notice – Even if you’ve lived in Croydon for years, you’re sure to be surprised by how big and varied Lloyd Park is. It has London’s only fully basketed international standard Frisbee golf course, you know… Which leads us on to…

Learn – there’s an area in the middle of Lloyd Park called Coombe Park. The Lloyd family who gifted the park to Croydon also gave an area of land to Walthamstow which they imaginatively called “Lloyd Park”, too. There you go, you’ve started learning before you’re even out of the door.

Give – doesn’t need to be money, just time. Just something that’s not purely for you (not to say “me time” isn’t a good thing as well – confusing innit?).

So there you have five ways to well-being. And not a tomato in sight, although they did grow tomatoes on Lloyd Park during the war.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in Activities, Charity, Environment, Health, Lloyd Park, Mind in Croydon, Walks, Wildlife and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Your first steps towards a marathon are a walk in the park

  1. Peter Rogers says:

    Wow this looks like a fantastic event and I’ll certainly be going… (any similarities between my name and anyone mentioned in this article may be purely coincidental)

  2. Pingback: Positive Steps features on Inside Croydon | Mind in Croydon

  3. Peter Rogers says:

    The event went brilliantly and everyone left smiling and clutching their medals. Thanks have to go to all of our volunteers for stewarding and everything else they did to make the day possible. Kevin Day was once again funny and inspirational when talking about his personal reasons for supporting Mind. Mango Tree Fit held a drum workshop when the PA wouldn’t work which was amazing fun and Croydon Council’s Heart Town department were a great help providing face painting and bouncy castles for the young (and not so young). Thanks to everyone I’ve forgotten and most importantly to everyone that took part on a day that threatened rain.

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