Run Free was created by Chris Phillips and Eddy Cooper in May of 2020. The idea behind the project is to increase the awareness of mental health issues, and to showcase how participation in sporting activities can act as a coping mechanism. The podcast is designed to tackle stigma surrounding mental health issues, whilst balancing those serious discussions with interesting and fun sporting content, including interviews with special guests, race reviews, and hilarious stories from friends and listeners alike. Both Chris and Eddy have experience with mental health issues and sport is a massive part of helping them live with these issues. They hope that through the podcast they can help others with similar struggles find some sort of positive outlet through sport, or at the very least create a more comfortable environment to talk about mental health problems.
Chris has worked for the Echo since 2003 and is now the chief sports reporter at the paper. He has reported on matches from Wakering to Wembley and has appeared on BBC TV, BBC Radio Five Live, Sky Sports and ITV.
Chris has also written a popular book following Southend United’s successful promotion push in 2015 that saw them jump from the 2nd division of the English Football League, to the 1st.
Chris is also the man on the microphone for the Southend Half Marathon and turned to running himself to help with his depression. As well as running, Chris has turned to tennis and football to help with his struggles, but it is with running that he has excelled.
Since 2003 Chris has been participating in local races and in 2006 he made the monumental jump up to the marathon distance. Chris has now run seven London Marathons, 6 for Havens Hospice and 1 for Cancer Research UK, whilst raising more than £60,000 in the process.
Eddy has recently finished his studies and is beginning his ventures into the social media marketing world. He has been running and playing football all of his life, but his more recent struggles with depression has seen both activities develop into more of a fun escape, rather than competition.
Eddy has previously run for his county, played football for various academies, and more recently he captained his university's 3rd team. Whilst captaining the university team Eddy ran the club's social media and produced a mental health awareness movement where he, and several of his teammates, went on camera to discuss their experiences with mental health issues.
As well as taking a vested interest in playing sport, Eddy does another podcast (TikiTaka Talk) with his friends that discusses a variety of topics relating to the footballing world. Eddy claims that his participation in sport that enables him to escape stress and anxiety, and it is through sport that he has established most of his best friendships.
Much like Chris, Eddy has engaged in several ventures to raise money for charity, most notably for Sarcoma UK (raising £12,000 by shaving his head in 2016), following his nan's death in October of 2014.
Thank you for visiting the Run Free website, we hope that we can continue to spread the awareness and understanding of mental health, whilst creating a more comfortable environment for people to engage in these difficult conversations.
Sport has its limitations, but we believe that it can provide some form of help to those that need it most. Whilst we are aware that each individual requires a different form of therapy, there is no designated road map for finding a way to cope.
'IT'S NOT ALL BLACK & WHITE'.