Gloucester Rotary Club's Mind Matters Marathon is open for registration

Logo designed by Gloucester High School student Daphne Wilkes.

Logo designed by Gloucester High School student Daphne Wilkes.

2019 was a very challenging year for Australians with the ongoing drought crisis and recent bushfires disasters.

Times are tough for everyone and it's very hard to find a town that isn't dealing with an increase in mental health issues.

Gloucester is no exception, so in light of this the Gloucester Rotary Club is running the Mind Matters Marathon on March 7 and 8 at Gloucester District Park. The aim of this event is to raise awareness about the mental health services available, and at the same time, raise funds for Lifeline and Rotary Health's Lift the Lid on Mental Health project.

So what does the Mind Matters Marathon involve? The event will kick off at 4pm on Saturday at the Bert Gallagher with the challenge being for participants to raise money by getting sponsorship or donations for walking or running around the oval until 7am on Sunday.

Although it does involve physical activity, the event is not so much a marathon of the body but rather a marathon of the mind.

Having a healthy body can help prevent conditions like heart disease and diabetes but mental fitness is just as important and is quite often neglected.

Having positive mental health requires ongoing mental exercises, a positive attitude and a good support base to help maintain fitness of the mind.

In today's society, the stress of keeping up with life's demands and struggles has resulted in more people suffering from some form of mental illness, and sadly we find that the majority of these people, are often suffering in silence or fighting their battles alone. This may be due to not wanting to acknowledge there's a problem, being too embarrassed to ask for help or just not knowing where to turn for help.

Various organisations such as Rotary Health, Lifeline and Bucketts Way Neighbourhood Group have been invited to come to the event along with mindfulness, exercise, yoga and pilates instructors and many other information stalls to promote good mental health. Participants can have a little break from walking or running and learn about the various options available to help achieve good mental health. There will also be a climbing wall for those up for a more challenging activity, as well as movies for those needing a rest.

The cost of the event is $20 per person or $50 per family (which includes 2 adults and 2 children under 12). Tickets and team registrations can be purchased from Bowe and Lidbury Stock and Station agents at 38 Church Street, Gloucester.

So get registered, get your sponsors and get ready to have fun and do what you can to help raise awareness and support this worthy cause. You can go solo, as a pair or get some friends together and form a team.

There will be prizes for the person who raises the most funds, the most creative dress theme and for the last team standing.

Just like running a marathon, you have to pace yourself and prepare your mind in order to maintain good mental health. Focusing on the positive, learning a routine that works, setting small realistic goals and knowing when and how to seek help are all key factors to achieving and maintaining good mental heath. It is as much about the process as it is about the outcome, and it takes daily effort and training but your mind and your health are worth it.

For more information, visit our website www.rotarygloucester9650.org.au/ or send us an email on 9650sec@gmail.com or find us on Facebook.