A RUNNER has persuaded work colleagues that her favourite pastime can help them to feel better – as well as fitter – while campaigning for a charity.

Amelia Pettitt, and two friends, was sponsored to complete rounds of the popular Sale Sizzler 5K series to help raise money for Mental Health UK.

The trio are completing a summer internship at Lloyds Banking Group, and were also challenged to promote awareness of a link between emotional wellbeing and financial challenges faced by people in society today.

Together they have collected more than £1,000 during the past two months.

“We’ve done lots of things to get to that figure,” said Pettitt, who is a member at Vale Royal Athletics Club.

“Running seemed to fit in well, and Laura and Eleanor – who with me make up a regional team for the challenge – loved doing the 5k races.

“They hadn’t done anything like it previously, but came back wanting to go again.

“That’s been a nice bonus; doing it together, and encouraging each other as we’re going along, was something that lifted all of us.

“I know from representing my club that some of my most cherished memories are from relay races when I’ve achieved something together with the support of other people.

“It’s still a challenge, and I’ve had my own part to play, but it makes you more determined when others will you on.”

Pettitt, 22, returns to Newcastle University next month to begin a master’s degree in chemical engineering.

She represented Great Britain last year at the World Universities Cross Country Championships in Italy, but a long-term foot injury has prevented her from competing for much of 2017.

“It’s been quite frustrating,” she said.

“The final year of my degree was so demanding, and I had less spare time to run anyway.

“I couldn’t train with the people I usually do, and instead was going to the gym on my own.

“Running is a huge part of my life, and I do find it completely relaxes me so that if I take a break from studying I do return feeling focused and energised.

“I’ve found the challenge a lot of fun, and the response we’ve had from people at the office – even if it’s just chatting during one of our cakes sales – has been really positive.

“We also spent time in a city centre talking to members of the public about Mental Health UK, and it was surprising how many people stopped and asked us questions.”

She completes the 10-week internship in the next fortnight, and has raised far and above a £500 target set at the start.

Lloyds Banking Group has a partnership with Mental Health UK for 2017 and 2018.

It aims to encourage discussion between customers and colleagues as well as raising at least £2m a year in offices and branches across the UK.

Another objective is to create a pioneering Mental Health and Money Advice Service which will offer support for people experiencing both mental health and financial difficulties.