FARMERS ACROSS five nations have joined together to mark 'Ag Mental Health Week' with a new exciting challenge to bring the industry together one mile at a time.

The recent pandemic has tested the resilience of farmers and crofters up and down the country without the usual social engagements to provide light relief, leaving many feeling out of touch with those well kent faces they would usual see on the circuit year on year.

Ag Mental Health Week between October 9 and 16, provided the perfect backdrop and momentum for the launch of 'Run1000' – a new challenge which hopes to bring the farming industry together.

This battle of the nations calls on individuals to sign up to be part of five teams – Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales and the rest of the world – to raise awareness and support for mental health charities, whilst boosting their own mental wellbeing through a team running challenge.

The competition, will take place between January 1 and 31, 2021, and will see each team run 1000 miles with the nation that reaches the milestone first, announced the winner.

Team captain for Scotland and the founder of Run1000, Sheena Horner commented: “I got back into running at the beginning of 2020 by participating in my local ParkRun. When lockdown prevent the local community from meeting weekly, I started running on my own but I quickly realised, that, for me, ParkRun was not just about my fitness, but also the social interaction with others," she explained.

“It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, we have all faced challenges with the pandemic and for many this has had a significant impact on our mental health. We wanted to demonstrate through 'Run1000' that we are all facing this together and that you may not be able to physically meet, but you can be part of an online community.”

The initiative hopes to raise awareness and funds for charities that have been impacted by the lack of fundraising events this year. There is a £20 joining fee for those who sign up which will be divided equally between five charities, selected by the team captains – RSABI, The Farming Community, Embrace Farm, The Do More Agriculture Foundation, and DPJ Foundation.

For those who might doubt their sporting abilities, Ms Horner added: "The challenge is open to anyone that would like to get involved, whether you run 2 miles or 20m every contribution is invaluable to helping support our chosen charities."

RSABI chief exec Nina Clancy will be joining Team Scotland's effort: “What a great way to keep fit, improve your mental health and raise money for worthwhile causes. I have already signed up and hope to contribute a few miles for Scotland but I suspect it won’t be on the 1st January!”

Ms Clancy pointed out that our mental health is as important as our physical health: "Many people will find themselves struggling with low mood or poor mental health during their lifetime, getting help and support is so important. The pandemic has had an additional impact on our mental health and wellbeing as socialising and meeting people is severely restricted," she explained. "I would urge everyone to #KeepTalking and keep an eye out for each other. If you are struggling or know someone who is, please call the RSABI helpline 0300 111 4166 open 7 days a week.

"Over half of our work is providing emotional support and the welfare team are actively accessing professional counselling for people which is really effective. Help and support is out there for absolutely everyone!”

If you would like to take part in the upcoming challenge, visit, click on your team and make your £20 contribution. The team captain will be in touch with joining details.

A tidy environment makes for a clearer mind

FOR THOSE gearing up to join the 'Run1000' challenge this January, here is some advice from health and fitness journalist Matt Evans at on creating a positive environment.

"A healthy environment means a healthy body and mind," said Mr Evans. "You might be thinking that it’s up to you to lace up your trainers and go for a run, or drink a glass of water, or do yoga first thing in the morning. But it’s much easier to stay healthy if you’re living in an environment which is geared to helping you make good decisions.

He added that this extends to exercise and to make sure you prepare in advance and clear space and time to train.

"This practice of 'hacking' your environment extends to your mental well-being too. Couples studied by the University of California found those who described their homes as 'chaotic' and 'messy' were found with higher levels of the stress hormone known as cortisol in their bodies. A tidy environment, with clean spaces and running trainers already by the door, will have you well on your way to improving your fitness and mental health," he concluded.