Keeping active to improve wellbeing

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Interview with Gareth Russell, ABP Head of Business Development on the Humber in the lead up to International Men’s Day 2022.

As part of our campaign to promote International Men’s Day this year, ABP is aiming to raise awareness around the importance of looking after the mental health and wellbeing of men and boys. Keeping physically active is proven to help improve wellbeing. What would you say is your “go to” physical activity to help you feel good?

I got into Triathlon in 2019 and so I now have three “go to” physical activities – swim, bike and run.  That said for me there’s nothing easier, quicker or better for clearing the head that just putting on my trainers and going outside for a run. It’s a great way to start the day and you never regret it!

Do you have any funny stories of when you have pursued this activity?

Probably more crazy than funny but in 2020 I set myself the challenge of doing at least a 10K run every day for the entire year – plus an extra one as it was a leap year!  January and February were the toughest months with the combination of poor weather, a busy period at work and my body trying to adjust to a new routine and 05:00 alarm calls.  I remember on one occasion I needed to be in London early morning for a full day of meetings with a late finish and so to stick to the daily challenge I went out for a run at 23:00 the evening before. I ran 10K in one direction, waited a couple of minutes until 00:01 and ran back!  The onset of lockdown and the coincidence of some great spring and summer weather turned what felt like an impossible commitment into an enjoyable experience. Having reached autumn injury and infection free it started to look like this crazy challenge might just be achievable and so enjoyment soon turned into obsession for those last few months.  On Thursday 31st December 2020 I completed my 366th consecutive daily run, racked up a total of 5,200 kilometres (equivalent of Hull to Timbuktu) and raised over £3,000 for the amazing Humber charity Cat Zero.

I certainly made the most of that lie in on 1st January 2021 but it wasn’t long until my mind was set on my next challenge – to qualify to represent Great Britain in my age group at the World Triathlon Championships in 2022.

How long have you worked at ABP and what is your current role?

Only 25 years!  I joined ABP in September 1997 as a Graduate Management Trainee and have been fortunate to work within a variety of great teams and locations across the group including Ayr and Troon, Head Office, Southampton and the Humber.  I’m currently enjoying my 11th role with ABP as Head of Business Development Humber helping to secure some of our major business growth opportunities. Here’s to another 25 years!

Are there things you look forward to the most every day and if yes, what are they?

I look forward to working within the best team at ABP, spending some fun time with wife and young family, oh and trying to squeeze in a little exercise.

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice to help improve health and wellbeing, what would it be?

Do something every day that raises your heart rate.

Find out more about the exciting careers ABP has to offer: Associated British Ports Careers (