Harpenden woman runs over 2,000km for teenage mental health charity

Barbra (right) ran with the support of her friends Geraldine Carrie and Julie Horrocks

Barbra (right) ran with the support of her friends Geraldine Carrie and Julie Horrocks - Credit: Barbra Budowski

Many people have challenged themselves to get more active in the past year, whether by walking, running or cycling. But one reader set herself a challenge that would make anyone feel exhausted just watching!

Taking the phrase 'five a day' to a whole new level is Barbra Budowski from Harpenden, who decided to run the equivalent of 5K a day for an entire year in the name of charity.

Barbra Budowski set out to run 5K a day for a year, starting on March 29 last year

Barbra Budowski set out to run 5K a day for a year, starting on March 29 last year - Credit: Barbra Budowski

Commencing her challenge at the start of lockdown last March, Barbra set out to covering 1,825km in 365 days - or 5K a day.

Now, just nine days away from completing a year's worth of running, she has covered more than 2,260km.

Aiming to raise £1 per kilometre, Barbra has so far raised £1,120 via JustGiving for stem4, a charity that supports teenage mental health.

Speaking to the Herts Ad, Barbra said: "There have been days where I've thought 'Oh my God, what am I doing?', but the feeling is really, really good!"


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Barbra's main motivation behind her challenge is her daughter, who suffers with her mental health. Knowing full well the impact a pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns can have on mental wellbeing, she took to inviting her daughter on her daily runs.

Barbra Budowski with her daughter

Barbra Budowski with her daughter, who inspired her 5K a day challenge - Credit: Barbra Budowski

"For me, exercise has always been my therapy. It's always been the best thing to relax, to break up the day and to recharge myself to continue."

Barbra regularly runs with Harpenden Arrows, a mixed-ability running club, and was inspired by a friend who lives in Chile to take on her challenge, with the support of her friends and family a little closer to home.

Barbra (right) with running friends Geraldine Carrie and Julie Horrocks

Barbra (right) with running friends Geraldine Carrie and Julie Horrocks - Credit: Barbra Budowski

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"They have been amazing. I run with my brother-in-law and my nephew.

"Running every day, I have inspired my daughter to do a bit of exercise. Not every day, but every day I invite her with me for a run."

Barbra admitted that although she is not taken up on her offer most days, she hopes that her determination and commitment to the challenge inspires her daughter - and others - to get active to help their mind.

Grateful for "the most amazing support from my family and my friends", Barbra hopes to mark her final run in a special way within current COVID restrictions, however, may even continue to run until she can have a few friends and family greet her at the finish line when the rule of six is reintroduced. 

To donate to Barbra's run and to keep up to date with her fundraiser, visit her JustGiving page.

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