Yesterday was a special run for me. I got to do something I love whilst raising £1254.50 for the mental health charity, Mind.
Last year I wrote:
As you may have guessed from my frequent running spam, I love to run. Fewer people know that alongside my passion for sadistic feats of endurance, I have also struggled with panic attacks and anxiety for a few years now. They arrived suddenly with no apparent cause, and have been by far the toughest things I’ve ever had to face. An anxiety disorder is a horrible, horrible thing that over time makes you doubt everything from whether you can leave the house, to your own sanity.
Fortunately, thanks to some good therapists, an understanding wife & family, and a lot of personal struggle, I am in the best place I’ve been since they started. But lots of other people are still struggling silently, and the dialogue around mental health still has a long way to go.
Running has also been a big part of my recovery—and my own personal middle finger to my overly-dramatic anxious thoughts—and so I’ve always wanted to run to raise money for a worthwhile cause. I have patiently held off asking for donations, until I've been ready for a suitably epic challenge. Well, on 30th June 2018 I will be running a 100km / 62 mile route from Bath to Cheltenham. The race is part of the Cotswold Way Challenge (https://www.cotswoldwaychallenge.com/), and lots of different people will be running, jogging or walking it over the weekend. I am part of the single-day running contingent, and will start early Saturday morning from the Royal Crescent in Bath, and aim to get to Cheltenham in time for supper. Needless to say, this is going to be a pretty tough day, and the farthest I've run to date by quite a way.
Mind are a wonderful charity who provide advice and support to people suffering with mental health issues, and campaign to raise awareness and increase the support available for those people.
It will really mean a lot to have your support behind me for this
Well, I did it! In a heatwave.
Thank you to everyone who responded and donated: Liam, Mum, Mandy, Lynn, Mitch, James, Thomas, Neil & Ane, Nan & Grandad, Nick, Colin, Theo, Ruth (x2!), Ryan, Dave, James, Sue, John, Fiona, Jennifer, Jamie, Mike, Greg, Paul, Bean, Elle & Dave, Dad, Tor, Bill, Sian, Jamie, Allstar, Grandma, Scott, Tayler, Matt, Scott, Simon, Nick, Louise, Lucy, Benjamin, Leanne, Karen, Leanne, Hannah, L, Sue, Paul, Ben, Stefan, Skye, Stuart, Ben and Nicola.
Thanks to my wife, who not only donated money but several grey hairs as I spent 13 hours running through the Sun.
A very special thanks to my Dad who drove from stop to stop the entire day delivering ice, cold towels and support. I’m not sure I could have managed the heat without your help; you were the best crew I could have hoped for.
627 runners started the 100k challenge with 208 (33%) dropping out along the way. I finished 7th, which I am surprised but very happy about! I ran 62 miles in 12h55m, took 120,000 steps and burned about 9000 calories.
I had a dream race for about 75k with legs feeling strong, clear focus, a cooperative stomach, and the heat just about remaining manageable.
Around Painswick the fatigue of the day and some particularly horrible hills really broke me down, and I had a very hard 90 minutes, physically and mentally. By the time I got to 93km I was a shuffling mess, but getting to the last checkpoint was a huge relief, and I knew it was all downhill into Cheltenham.
It's been 7 or so months in the making and despite the weather being really tough, it was a stunning route that I feel privileged to have been able to run with loads of other nutcases. Keep running weirdos ✊🏻
And a massive heartfelt, happy, tired thank you to everyone who donated and supported me!
p.s. I also wrote a blog for Mind about my reasons for fundraising, and how running has helped my anxiety.