Peter is determined to raise awareness of mental health issues through both words and the use of his skinny legs as a runner. Today he writes about why he is running 44 marathons is 44 days.
My name’s Pete and this year I’m running 44 marathons in 44 consecutive days. If all goes to plan I’ll run across every country in Europe and end up with some very tired legs!
I have been running for around seven years now. My personal best marathon time is two hours and twenty five minutes, and I came 25th in the 2015 Amsterdam marathon. In peak training I run over 100 miles a week, but this has not always been the case.
"I was once the kid who did his best to dodge the school cross country, wondering why anyone would ever want to run for fun!"
This all changed when I ran my first London Marathon in 2009 and I have been hooked ever since.
While I always have my running, the last year or so has been the hardest time of my life. I have days where I feel I could take on the world and days where I want to run away and hide on a deserted island.
As a result, I’m starting to think about my own mental health and trying to be more open about talking to others about how I feel.
"Many of my friends and family have experienced – and continue to experience – a variety of mental health problems."
Thanks to this support, my family and friends feel they can more openly discuss their problems and now actively seek support.
So I knew I wanted to do something to raise money for Mind.
"Running was always the obvious fundraising choice for me, as running is what I know best."
I ran my first London marathon for Mind, and my skinny legs are the greatest tool I have to try and make a difference! Eddie Izzard and Ben Smith (who conquered 401 marathons in 401 days) have been real inspirations to me.
I wanted to do something completely different, something that will hopefully capture people’s imagination and as a result, raise as much money and awareness of mental health as possible.
"The support I’ve had so far has been amazing, and I’ve already raised over £4,000."
There are some incredibly generous people out there and I have always felt guilty about asking people for donations, but I’ve realised that people genuinely do want to help.
I’ve been lucky enough to get sponsors on board to cover the cost of kit, travel and accommodation. This means I hopefully won’t have to deal with bankruptcy, as well as being exhausted, when I get back from the last marathon.
I received support from sponsors simply by asking, as I’ve learnt that if you don’t ask you don’t get.
When I first came up with the idea I sent countless emails to companies and most of them never replied, but the few that I did meant the world to me. I’ve had so many phone conversations trying to showcase what I’m doing and convince people that although it starts on April 1st 2017, it’s not an April Fool’s Day joke!
"My aim is to raise over £10,000 as well as help build awareness around the importance of talking about mental health."
For me it’s not just about the money I raise. If someone sees the challenge I’ve set myself in running the London marathon and is inspired to reach out for support as a result, that for me is priceless.
Take on an active challenge for Mind
When you’re living with a mental health problem, or supporting someone who is, having access to the right information - about a condition, treatment options, or practical issues - is vital. Visit our information pages to find out more.
Blogs and stories can show that people with mental health problems are cared about, understood and listened to. We can use it to challenge the status quo and change attitudes.