Jess Robson Run Talk Run Founder Gym+Coffee Community Highlight

Run. Talk. Run. (And then keep talking).

Struggling with her mental health since her teenage years, Jessica Robson has found a method for tackling some of the challenges she faced, and has done so in a way that is now helping many more across the globe. Jess is the founder of London-based running and mental health support group Run Talk Run, which she started back in 2017 after a particularly tough period in her life.

“When you're suffering, you know that socialising is going to be good for you but you don’t want to paint on a smile - you can turn up [to a Run Talk Run event] and be yourself however you’re feeling. We’re here to be with you.”

Jess Robson Run Talk Run Community Stories HighlightJess’ combination of exercise and banter has proved helpful to her and many others, saying, “When you're suffering, you know that socialising is going to be good for you but you don’t want to paint on a smile - [but] you can turn up [to a Run Talk Run event] and be yourself however you’re feeling. We’re here to be with you.”

When things came to a bit of a head, Jess followed a path that many of us have - finding a therapist, attending sessions weekly and hoping that it would help. But Jess, very candidly, admits that she was in a space where her self esteem was so low that she wasn’t even able to be honest with her therapist, thinking she might be judged for what she was going through. Jess began fudging the truth of her struggles and wasn’t able to open up fully; instead, she started leaving London on the weekends to spend time with her family outside the city.

“My mum is a really keen runner and she was, quite rightly, dragging me out. I found myself opening up [to her] about all the dark horrible things that were happening, while I was on these runs.”

It was then that she started to find a bit of her lost confidence and began opening up to herself, and to others a bit more. “My mum is a really keen runner and she was, quite rightly, dragging me out. I found myself opening up [to her] about all the dark, horrible things that were happening while I was on these runs.” Jess jokes that she was cramping her mum’s style on the weekend’s so started to search for a running group back in London. Her search was tough. “For me at the time, with my social anxiety, the running groups seemed really intimidating. Competitive wasn’t what I needed - just a gentle jog and a chat.”

In 2017, at the tender age of 24, Jess decided to set up her own crew. Putting it out on her own social media channels first, Jess says she was met with a whole lotta crickets for about the first 6 months. But, determined to make it happen and with the knowledge of how much running had already helped her, she persevered. She gave the runs a name, set up an Insta handle… and waited… With the approach of Spring, she started to get a few more running mates, found a venue for bag drops and things really started picking up. “I didn’t realise how lonely I’d been and I think to be honest, I was ashamed of that. But with me and my little support group that I’d found, my mental health improved so much - I was tackling my social anxiety head-on!”

“I didn’t realise how lonely I’d been and I think to be honest, I was ashamed of that. But with me and my little support group that I’d found, my mental health improved so much - I was tackling my social anxiety head-on!”

Run Talk Run Community Running Group and Mental Health Support in Eastbourne

Run Talk Run Eastbourne

Now, Run Talk Run has 110+ running groups worldwide including in the States, Dubai, Australia, crews throughout Europe and of course, in the UK! Jess lets each group run with their own local flavour but keeps a few things set in stone: The focus is always on providing a safe space for mental health talk, the runs are always 5km long, and there’s no runner left behind - the crew always finishes their jog together.

“To me and hopefully to my runners, community means I can turn up and be my full self - whatever that looks like.”

For Jess, it’s all about the sense of safety and community, “To me and hopefully to my runners, community means I can turn up and be my full self - whatever that looks like.” As Run Talk Run continues to grow, Jess now dedicates more working hours to building the RTR community. We’re so happy to have her community become a part of ours. In the UK, there are heaps of Run Talk Run groups that you can join, find your nearest one here

Run Talk Run Dublin Community Running Group

Run Talk Run Dublin

For more information on Run Talk Run, head here. And for access to mental health resources in the UK, head to the associated link.