Outrun the Black Dog with King’s Athletics

On a balmy October evening, 35 members of the KCL community made their way down to Stamford Street Apartments to partake in an autumnal mental health awareness run. 

The event was met with eagerness and anticipation amongst both students and staff as they prepared to lace up and enjoy the 5k run around central London.

The run was in aid of ‘The Black Dog Campaign’ which helps reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and encourages people to seek help early, rather than suffer in silence.  At its worst, depression can be a frightening, exhausting condition. Over a quarter of students at UK universities are living with a ‘Black Dog’ of their own. Many of these individuals are afraid to talk about their struggles, and don’t know where to turn for help. As many as half will never disclose this to their university and therefore miss out on vital support resources.

The run was easily accessible, with the route carefully planned to pass all KCL student accommodations, meaning more could be involved.  

Black Dog t-shirts were specially designed for the KCL event by Matthew Johnstone, a professional designer and author.


Roar had the opportunity to speak with the main organiser for the event, King’s Athletics Social Running Captain, Matt Faires. He told us how the cause was close to his heart; having used running as a relief when faced with his own mental health struggles. Research has consistently shown that exercise helps ease depression as well as improving mood, self-esteem and cognitive ability. Despite this, many of us fail to participate in sufficient levels of exercise.

A positive turn out for a positive cause

Matt also explained how the main purpose of the impressive fun run was to break down the stigma surrounding mental health and make the event feel open and accessible to many who would perhaps be nervous to get involved with such initiatives. He was enthusiastic about the prospect of planning similar events during future Mental Health Weeks at KCL and suggested taking part in more runs to help students cope with the stress of exams. He also hinted that there would be a discounted King’s Athletics membership to participants. 

You can find out more about social running and King’s Athletics events here 

So get running!