A Clayton-le-Woods woman who has run at least 5km every day for the past year has been praised by the local community for spreading love and hope throughout the challenge.Advertisement
Ramona Mulligan originally set out to do 100 parkruns in 100 days at Cuerden Valley Park, but after hitting the milestone she decided to carry on for her mental wellbeing.
A year later and Ramona has become known in the local area for promoting wellbeing in others by leaving knitted love hearts with a tag saying ‘you are not alone’ on her running routes.
During the past 12 months, Ramona has done a daily 5km but also completed several 10km runs, half marathons, a 22-mile training run along the Preston Guild Wheel and two full marathons.
In the process, she has raised over £1,500 for charities Shelter and MIND.
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Ramona said: “I’ve done all of this for my own mental health, to support charities and to help lift people up in my community by sharing the #yourarenotaloneheart.
“I received the love hearts from a lady who started the #takeheartxo movement during RED January, and it has brought so much joy to me and our community.
“I’ve left them on the gates of parks, memorial benches, war memorials, schools, churches, hospitals, and more. They promote positivity and support people who are experiencing loneliness, bereavement, depression etc.
“At first people were finding them and posting photos of themselves on our community Facebook groups, smiling and holding the hearts. Now they know it’s me I share daily posts.”
Ramona has even made lasting friendships through the love hearts.
“When we were first placed on lockdown, I was the only one running, so I would say hello to the memory benches as I ran past – ‘Hello Tony… Hello David… Hello Trevor… Hello Ian… Hello Gary’.
“Now I know who they all are and their stories, because I’ve connected with their families after leaving hearts at their benches.
“Families have told me how much it’s helped them get through their grief during the pandemic. It’s brought them so much joy after experiencing loneliness and sorrow.”
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Ramona is showing no signs of slowing down, saying exercise continues to help her through tough times.
She said: “I’m currently taking part in the End to End Route 66 Virtual Challenge, where I’m walking, running and cycling 2,274 miles within 12 months.
“I’ve signed up for the UK Wide Cycle Ride for Diabetes UK during the month of April, where I will cycle 120 miles, and I’m running Edinburgh Virtual Marathon in May and London Virtual Marathon in October.
“Keeping active has helped me stay in the present, and to keep moving forward after suffering from grief, anxiety and post-traumatic stress following the loss of my Mother.”
To donate to Ramona’s fundraising, visit her pages on JustGiving for Shelter and JustGiving for MIND.
Proud Preston. This, and many stories like it, show how the people of Preston are making a difference. Our Proud Preston section showcases all the charitable, kind, uplifting and great things about our city and the people who live here. #ProudPreston is alive and well, and there’s much to celebrate and be proud of, despite the challenging times we all face.
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What do you think of Ramona’s running challenge? Have you found one of her hearts? Let us know in the comments.