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Rachel Ann Cullen - Author of “Running for my Life” sharing about mental health

Katy Willings - Chief of Adventures at The Adventurists - Competing the Rickshaw Rally and rode in the inaugural Mongol Derby, the world's longest horse race!

Rachel Ann experiences the reality of mental health issues from a young age- she grows up in a dysfunctional home with a mother who suffers with bipolar disorder and disordered eating.

Rachel Ann isn’t naturally athletic and from a young age, feels the pressure of being compared to her graceful ballerina sister Jane. She finds comfort in food and rapidly gains weight throughout childhood and into her teenage years.

Rachel Ann begins running at age 18, but she finds no pleasure in movement. Running is a necessary evil to help her lose weight, an ‘energy-depleting, laboured chore with the sole purpose of burning calories’. She dips in and out of running throughout her life, but only begins to take it seriously after the birth of her daughter, when she sets herself the goal of completing the London Marathon. It gives her purpose and some headspace away from her new role as a mother.

Running becomes Rachel Ann's saviour, she finally finds contentment and freedom she has been searching for all her life.


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Show notes

  • Living in Yorkshire and speaking to use from her attic

  • Being a runner and a writer

  • Publishing her book - Running for my life

  • Her background of being a lawyer, to running her own health business and now working for a charity

  • Growing up with her mum, who suffered from mental health issues

  • Absorbing her mothers sadness (even though her mum loved her)

  • Coming into her teenage years and dealing with a lack of self confidence

  • Turning to comfort eating to deal with life

  • Being in an abusive relationship when she was a teenager

  • Wanting to feel better about herself and how she started running

  • Why her running came from a place of self loathing and negativity

  • Hating running but sticking to her running plan

  • Seeking professional help with her mental health

  • Being diagnosed with clinical depression and being on medication for 12 years

  • Deciding to set herself the challenge of running the London Marathon

  • Wanting to get pregnant and have a child

  • Getting a place the first time she entered the London Marathon!

  • Making up her own training schedule by booking in a series of races

  • The mental side of training and the marathon

  • Crossing the finish line of her first marathon in 2011

  • Experiencing the pain zone

  • What she would say to the 18 year old Rachel now

  • Why she deciding to write her book - “Running for my Life”

  • What can we do to raise awareness of mental health issues

  • Advice for new runners

  • Her next running goals

  • Running Boston Marathon and Leeds Half Marathon

  • Writing her second book


Social Media

Twitter - @writtenbyrach


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