As you all me know well by now I’m Poshey Aherne, a mental health campaigner and event coordinator for 5k a day January challenge for #positivementalhealth 👍
I taught of this idea in December as a running friend of mine for the last 3 years ran every day in December I was going to try it this year but felt with work and party’s and everything I’d fail and did not want to fail as I’m stubborn, so I mailed Vincent O Leary and said is it OK to take your idea and use it for January for Mental health and he said no problem so I went off on my usual thinking game running up ideas and hoping them off people and seen if they think it would work and so on..
First thing first I had to choose charities I wanted to do it for and right away my usual charity jigsaw who I admire their work and more I love the staff love when I feel welcome it makes it personal and extra special I have good Friends in there now, jigsaw kerry work with teens between 12/25 with early intervention, trying to catch issues like bullying to issues with friends family etc before it getting too far.
second charitie I taught of Donal Walsh right away, Fionnbar Walsh gave me a final Walsh top mid year maybe and I wore it for most of my marathons and it inspires me when I hit a bad patch in a run I think to myself, suck it up, life is too short your ok, if Donal had a chance he would be here running it and not winging get on with it, life’s about taken chances and doing the things you love, so Donal Walsh #livelife Foundation was Def my top choice wants to get his awareness out there he inspires me so I want his message to live on #livelife
Challenge donation link – – > donation link for jigsaw kerry and Donal Walsh #livelife Foundation ✒️✔️
Got the event in motion never expected many to do it, I kinda wanted it a personal challenge for myself and this challenge was never about money it was about getting people active in January by walking/running or whatever, get out and get the heart rate moving, I personally know that exercise and positive mental health works for a lot of people don’t get me wrong it don’t work for everyone in fact too much of a good thing is bad for someone ain’t anything, ran my idea passed jigsaw and elma Walsh and all systems go..
I set up the Facebook page and events
✔️group Facebook page – – -> Facebook group link
✔️Facebook official page – – > Facebook challenge page
and said if people walk/run 5k a day for 31 days in January they donate €1 to jigsaw kerry and Donal Walsh #livelife Foundation so people had to donate €31 euros at the start or end of January but as I said before was never expecting money or to raise much from it, if I got my running crew or few people I knew doing it I was happy, end of the day I’m doing what I have being doing for near 3 years raising awareness for positive mental health and helping get the jigsaw name out there and the amazing work they do and get Donald message out there and pound it out and let people know it’s ok not to feel ok and a problem shared is a problem halved.
Met with Elma Walsh one day for tea and chatting told her idea etc and she kindly offered for each person who donated the €31 she would offer a free Donal Walsh #livelife running top, little did I know that my event was set to literary take off I had mails, phones calls, Facebook went off the walls being honest I sat back and said what the fuck is just happening, everyone wants to do it I know January is a time everyone gets on this new me new year bullshit sorry but that cracks me up, there is 365 days a year you don’t need a new year to change of take up exercise if we had to wait a new year start something we would get nothing done. Since the event got so big and I got so many mails texts for Donal Walsh tops it got on top of me my anxiety was flaring up and I did not need this as drains me and I have like 31 days to run/walk I’m a people pleaser and hate leaving people down I feel guilty pressure got to me but I tried to shrug it off but I’ll explain later in the blog what happens!
I was all set for the challenge I’m normally very active I have 19 half marathons and 4 triathlons under my belt and run few days a week felt ready and able my fitness was not an issue here.
The few days before the challenge I was feeling good Usualy the Xmas period I suffer from bad anxiety and Xmas is a time I personally hate and Usualy knocks me for six gets to me and eats me up it this Xmas I made a super friend Amy she was there for me and can’t thank her enough for it and my Usual friends born to run crew and Ashley, I was running away, at Xmas felt good, felt myself and Amy went up Brandon on one 3 days before the challenge dunno if that was an good idea day, after I felt perfect then the second morning I could just about get out of bed my god I hurt my back was broke ud swear I crawled up (your asking why am I mentioning this) anyway the challenge came.
Little did I know that the challenge hit twitter and a good few nice down to watch genuine people got involed, mental health advocate Aidan o Carroll, Samantha Kelly (tweetgodness), Greg start the the glamorous Rachael pilkington actor from faircity its great to have such great people like these involed as well and fair play to them the first week they were active and loving the challenge.
day.1 i felt great off I went met Amy did 5k with Amy wanted Amy to be the first one I ran with as she was there for me all Xmas high 5 at the end I was like I’m up for this I’m happy I’m ready but that night I had so many mails and Facebook notifications I was starting to feel real tired real fast not anyone’s fault it’s my own personal anxiety issues I was fighting it and saying stay away now boy please come back in Feb.
Day 2 I woke up feeling good again got up out the door and did 5k felt great was buzzing again but the more the event got bigger and bigger the more I started to personally crumble anxiety was knocking slowely could feel it.
Day 3 again I woke up feeling great even did a 10k run this day the sun was out I felt good and I did not want to stop running when u get that good day of running when you feel so good and just so happy running I was going to go over 10k but said I have a long month slow down take it handy, called into Elma Walsh we had out Usual chat and felt great all good l, I usualy have issues with my gut eat shit (gluten) I pay for it so eating kaleli Kebabs on day 1,2,3 of the challenge when you should be healthy kicked me right in the hole.
Day 4 woke up on day 4 and felt very sluggish my gut issues were back and my anxiety was high pressure of event and having to do this and encourage people and lead them my god I dunno why I do it to myself ended up on day 4 running with Born To Run group and felt good again running called to Elma Walsh after the run for a chat etc went home feeling little sick with gut (normal thing for me)
Day 5 let me tell u I got up I knew I was In I felt so drained and sick I did not know what to do I said up out 5k and home and chill got the walk done came home ate and then I felt fucked I had to go back to bed I never had to go back to bed I was drained felt sick and anxiety was looking me right in the eyes and saying hello it’s me you coming out to play, I was in bed I was like why now why me please go away I need to do this challenge and the more I seen facebook messages that I’m inspiring people and only 2/3 people know how I really am at the moment drained/sick and first time in my fitness career I would not even build up the energy to run 5k and this is something that never happened me but knew I had to look at anxiety in the eyes and tell it I know who you are now fuck off I’m not playing games but the more you get tired the more the anxirty wins and when you have to work and do the challenge it’s hard not to be tired but mentally under all this I was strong besides the anxiety, I looked to the Facebook page and seen people and there story’s and I said I’m doing this and I will do this these people on this Facebook group are so inspiring it’s nuts hats off folks.
Day 6,7,8 I got on with what I needed to do get up get out and get the 5k done think one of my mistakes I stayed along all week and had too much time to think, on day 8 I met up with Laura in fenit we walked all around the island and I got to say the company was great I felt good, also on day 8, I met up with a friend and went to Killarney to the lakes and switched off.
Over all week one was a hard challenge and it’s all down to my personal battle with anxiety I’m open and honest about it it’s who I am and it’s always going to flare and events that I run it always happened to me same with darkness into light and walk 4 life I crumbled only for my family I always ask myself why do it do it and I suffer but I love the results and love when I know I can help people and people listen and love my work without my friends I would be lost I will be ok again always am, also got to say the support everyone is given in the Facebook group I never in my life seen anything like it Eveyone supporting each other each and every event should be like this I look over the posts and strangers helping each other never meet or locked eyes before and helping and given words of encouragement, I can say thank you cause I look at them messages and it’s helping me got to say for week one you all have be super amazing and I’m so lucky to have you all on the challenge with me thank you all 👏👏👌👍
Rachel pitchingtons input on week 1
“I was presented with a rather ‘spontaneous’ challenge to complete 5k a day for the month of January. And I cannot tell you how invigorating it has been for me to subscribe to it. I didn’t even realise how much I needed this lift in my life until now. Exercise is one of the most powerful, natural antidepressants in the world, boosting serotonin levels & releasing endorphins. Never underestimate the power of physical activity to bring about healing & balance & new energy in every possible way.”
Day 9 I decided to take a social media break from Facebook cause hoenstly I was getting loads of mails a day then down to 300/400 notifications a day it was dragging me down and making me real tired and having to reply to them was tuff on the phone 24/7 is a bad thing would do anyone’s head in (not your fault) just kept checking myself and commenting and receiving the replys etc best option was to log in once a day at night when I’m home chilled and had a hour to unwind and see everyone’s stories, today I’m getting back on the horse and I’m off running as I have walked the last 3 days due to mental tiredness and illness enjoy it, headphones in 80s music Playlist and happy as a pig in shit 👌👌🌈🏃 also that night I ended up going back to hot yoga in tralee and really was great to be back
Day 10 day 10 I found myself coming good really enjoyed day 10 I joined operation transformation walk at tralee super value at half 6 met up with my good friend Tommy and we walked it and had a good old catch up and gossip and you know something you need walks and chats like that and friends like that in your life to see you get places, really enjoyed it 👏
Day 11 my Mojo came back slowely after the first week, the first week I was mentaly drained and my energy was very low and effected me and I had to walk a few days and that has never ever happened me found it strange, the pressure of the event and pressure over all got to me crippled me a bit but yet again good friends and support of the Facebook group I got my Mojo back, had a great 5k run after work focused again and even went to a hour and half of yoga with cara Wallace in tralee 👌✔️
Day 12/13 day 12 went perfect loved it a nice handy 5k by myself I love to run myself pop the headphones in good music and just run its #metime and my time and unwind only thing that totaly unwinds me, day 13 elma walsh joined me for a nice 5k walk a chat bit of banter and slagging as usual between us, great to have company as well on the 5ks I like to vary it ✔️
Day 14 I felt great on day 14, felt shin splints coming on starting to hurt but I went Out to fenit and got my legs into the ocean and walked in there for 10 minutes it was freezing but did the trick legs were great after it,
Day 15 was the best day yet of the challenge I headed off the Sunday with Amy and we had planned to climb torc mountain which is located in Killanrey, I have never gone up there before so I did not know what to expect or not knowing where we were going, we set off from the car park and from the start the views and scenery was amazing so peaceful, as we were climbing it was nice views where great was little dull little sunshine but expected, the views were only ok but you don’t expect when you get the top within 2 seconds the views open up from the other side of Killarney my god it was amazing up there I loved the climb so much think this was the nicest climb I ever did good crack, amazing views and being out in the fresh air = perfect 🌄✔️
Day 17 I needed to get back into the pool again I did alot of triathlon training last year and loved ocean swimming with triathlon season starting and I’m looking to do an Ironman, and have a aquathon this Sunday the 22nd first tralee triathlon club event and have not being in the water in months so had to go went and did 1200m in the pool, but little did I know i came home and felt awful guilty and felt I cheated even do I wad over the event guilt got the better of me I know the challenge is about getting out active, running, cycling and walking etc so off I went for 5k walk and I was fair tired after the swim but guilt got better of me 👎👎
Day 18 day is was amazing I went up to the cycle against suicide student Congress in limerick where 3000 students were there with guest speaks such as gerry Duffy and Dr Eddie Murphy, and students who open up tell there story’s about there battle with mental illness, some story’s were amazing so honest and pure about there story’s and what I got from the day was Noone got better alone they had to seek help and support to help them though the bad days have to admit cycle against suicide family are so kind and welcoming the day was spending the message, it’s Ok not to feel ok and it’s absolutely ok to ask for help and a problem shared is a problem halved you never have to be alone none has to be, speak out, reach out, came back from limerick went for my 5k then I had 2 hours of yoga let me tell you I slept that night even met my childhood hero on TV dustin the Turkey 👌
Day 20 I did my 5k run early 8.30am and was an amazing morning out sun was shining and great to be out and getting active and getting fresh air, this morning I took off my Donal Walsh top as seemed to be a great chance for a nice photo with the lovely swans but when I put the top down the swans tried to eat my top and when I tried to get my top they kept hissing I had to run away and hide for 10 minutes to get my top back, funny but true story 😂😂✔️
Day 20 continued I had a challenge which was brought to me by Carly Norris in kerry fitness studio, she wanted me to do 1 Hour of pole fitness to promote the benefits of pole fitness and break the stigma around pole fitness it has a bad name which it shouldn’t people mix it up with pole dancers, I went and said id give it a go, sure what’s the worse what could happen I was being active for a hour and I don’t care what people think if something makes you happy ain’t that all that matters?? To me it is!! And Eveyone should try everything once in life, cauae you can’t knock it till you try it same goes for you should never judge someone till you got to know someone or stood in there shoes
Arrived at the fitness studio with loads of women doing there thing and I did a live video from my Facebook, when I got hands on with Amy who is amazing at pole and had patience to show me how to do it I’m a man with very bad coordination and shocking at times I felt comfortable and the girls made me feel welcome even do must have being strange having me there but this pole fitness is open to males and females any ages 👌
My summary of the hour pole fitness I really enjoyed it, was fun was very very hard these women have serious body strenth and core to do this I could not do it I respect these women and are really fit and string to do this every week twice a week, I would decently recommend people go and try it once and see how you get on check out here facebook here for my Videos – – > Kerrydancefitness link
also massive thanks to Carly and All the girls and Amy for were very welcoming and helping 👏
Day 21, I did 10k on this day and really enjoyed it y fitness levels have gotten good again and feel great, today my good friend Tommy Commane joined me for 5k of my run a good catch up and chat as usual.
Day 21/22, was a normal 5 k run which I want off on my own and run the 5k nothing strange or nothing major to report, onky had to get my 5k run in early on the 22nd as I had to go to Athlone for a work summit 👍
Day 23, was a tuff one u had a three work summit and was jam packed till 6.30 or there abouts and then had to be in the lobby again for 7.00 to go to another venue with work all morning I was thinking how am I going to get in 5k it’s impossible but what I did was I snuck away for one session during the afternoon went to the gym and did a very fast 5k in 22 mins was only way I could do it and I was not missing a day when I’m in day 23 and then straight worked out perfect quick shower and joined Eveyone again, I did feel really bad for doing the 5k and. Missing half a hour of the day which I was ment to be there and I’m sorry for doing it but I could see no other option at the time and I did not want to leave over 200 people down as well, guess my passion took over and my need to keep you all happy and I had to lead by example 👍 I hate treadmill running it just hurts my legs always, missed the road and the fresh air 👌
Day 24, was a real struggle I must admit 2 long days traveling to Athlone and 6 hour train drive down on the Tuesday I was shatter got home and said ok I need to do this so the minute I got home straight into the runners and gear and off I went it nearly killed my my body was tired, even sitting on your hole on a train would drain ya, my favour saying
what the mind believes the body achieves
Do we have set a date and time for the final 5k celebration walk which will be held on the 31st January in tralee at the station house accross from blennerville windmill at 7pm where there will be finger food and hope Eveyone turns up and does the final walk will be great to meet Eveyone because they all have being amazing and without them this event was not possible, also on the night the wash family and Jigsaw Kerry will be there as well really looking forward to this night being an amazing month of positivity and 5k a day which is hard at times for Eveyone but we’re getting through it, step by step mile by mile as one 👌👏👍
Day 25 we hit a milestone, this challenge was never a challenge to raise money or wanting to raise money, the event was to get people active in January by walking or running 5k a day every day for 31 days but today the 25th of January we raised €4,000 and still counting its amazing how generous people are and so I’m thankful for all this as the money will go a long way to help teens mental health, this event was about awareness and the benifits of exercise and think the group are enjoying it very much too 👏🏃✔️
day 26 it was wild and windy and a weather warning outside and looking out at it would want you to stick the fire on feet up and Feck it but I’m always a fella that says, if we waited for good weather in Ireland we would never get any training done outdoors and perfect outdoors than indoors fresh air is amazing and good for the head, Sarah O Connell joined me today for her first first run and what a day she picked blown away we were but happy to get it done 🏃🏃✔️
day 27/28 day 27 I ran the route that we as a group will be walking on the final day of the challenge on the 31st January really looking forward to meeting Eveyone ready excited ✔️
Day 28 I went down for the 2 year anniversary of the tralee park run this event has being a major success there is on average 200 runners a week and not there is a junior park run on Sundays for the kids which is so amazing to see getting kids active and fit when I was young I didn’t know what fit was, was told get out and go play, met up with great people at the park run which is 5k, 3 laps of the park, met my friend JJ and Dennis and his friend veronica who was once a kerry rose ran a loop with them great and handy run and really enjoyed the chats thanks you lot
day 29/30 just headed out myself for a run back the canal nice and early to get it done, I love my own space and time where I can put in the headphones and tune out nothing better to help me switch me off 🌟
day 31 well the main big day has arrived and I had work from 12/5pm and being honest it was a hard day woke up I was physically hurting from anxiety and cramping up and said to myself Jesus this is going to be a long day feeling light-headed and all over the place, the joys of anxiety huh it’s not easy but u have to learn how to handle it 👊💪
So the last 5k walk was happening 7pm at the station house in blennerville in the morning I went off to garveys super value where they kindly sponsored me water and fruit for the event keeping things nice and healthy, eating healthy and fitness key to a good life ✔️
Finished work at 5 rushed home got food and called up to my good friend Marylin who was helping me on the night then we were passing Elma house I decided to call in see if she needed a hand with anything ended up in there for a good bit of time having tea and the crack as usual then off to the station house not knowing if 10 people would turn up but under it all I knew I had done a good job and the awareness we got was massive due to papers, radio, and social media 😊
People starting gathering and it was amazing to see people looking for photos I felt like a celb everyone wanted to talk to me made all them sleepless nights and days of anxiety a distant memory ended up with about 150/200 turning up which was totaly amazing so we all set off about 7.15pm after the papers got there photos, 5k ahead of us and was so nice to see so many people chatting and talking about the benifits they found of the challenge its what it was all about giving them a taste of what it feels like to feel good due to exercise I know it feels good and alot of people I know do so I’m pretty sure it works for Eveyone else, we passed Donal walshes house on route which was pretty special it was an amazing 5k I really really enjoyed it walked most of it with manager of jigsaw kerry Jimmy mulligan 👏🌟
After the 5k people gathered in the station house there was an amazing buzz around the place, them Elma and Jimmy was keen for me to say a few words and knew they were up to something so they ended up doing speeches first themselves and presenting me with a beautiful trophy which I was blown away by, I have done a few events and I never felt so much emotion receiving it, kind words and just overwhelmed by all the people clapping a memory I’ll never forget, it’s the simple things I like Im life and knowing I was apprichated for what I did with that gift made the whole event and I am grateful to Elma Walsh and the Walsh family and Jigsaw Kerry, sincerely thank you ❤️👏🌟
People probably wonder why I do it why do I have do much passion, losing so many friends to suicde is my fire not only that but sharing the message, it’s ok not to feel ok and it’s absolutely ok to ask for help and a problem shared is a problem halved and my message works here is something was wrote on facebook that night after the challenge by Elaine Courtney she quotes
I suffer from anxiety very badly and it’s taken me to some pretty dark days but it’s thanks to this brave and humble fella that I’ve finally accepted that it’s ok not to be ok and to share how I’m feeling.i braved the roads over the last 31 days and I have to admit it made the world of difference to my peace of mind.a big thank you to Poshey for highlighting this condition and for helping people understand a little of what we suffer day to day.i will be forever grateful ❤❤❤
That sums up my journey hearing that I even helped one person along my 31 one day journey with the message its ok to talk and speak out ❤️
Lastly I’d like to thank each and everyone of you for your support we have hit over €6000 euros so far and money still coming in you are all amazing. 👏
Massive thanks to my close friends, Amy O Halloran , Tommy Commane, Marylin o Shea and so on without people like these supporting me and in my life these events are not possible amazing support for them thank you all ❤️👏
Massive thanks to Eveyone on Twitter for there amazing support with sharing my message, Rachel Pikington, grey star, Samantha Kelly, Aidan O Connor and many more ❤️🌟
Eveyone on facebook and especially the Facebook group what can I say ye made the journey so much better more than you could ever imagine, the support and encouragement you all gave each other was a second to none, you really should be so proud of each other cause I’m so proud of you thank you every simple one of you 👏❤️🌟
That’s its folks, 31 5ks, 31 days in January which will never again be forgot ❤️
Poshey Aherne ✒️✒️
Some photos from the group 👇👇