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I’m running 7 marathons in 7 days for Mind

Friday, 29 April 2022 Carl

Carl blogs about why he’s testing himself to the limit to raise funds for Mind.

Running has always been a big thing in my life. I ran cross-country competitively at school, represented the east midlands in a national running event at college and completed my first marathon in 2018 at university. Exercise – and running in particularly – has always boosted my mental health. So, when I decided to raise money for Mind, running seemed the obvious way to do it.

Then there was the small matter of the challenge. I wanted to do something that would test me like I’ve never been tested before. Call me a glutton for punishment, but I have decided to run 7 marathons in 7 days with my friend cycling the same distance on Mental Health Awareness Week. I have decided to run for Mind and mental health in general as it has such a significant effect on most people’s lives, whether it’s the individual affected by poor mental health or family and friends close to them.

“People need to know that it’s fine to not feel themselves and that asking for help isn't being weak.”

I am running for Mind in the hope that it makes people more aware that it’s OK to speak up for mental health and in the process lesson the stigmatisation and discrimination many people with mental health problems still feel. People need to know that it’s fine to not feel themselves and that asking for help isn't being “weak”. If we all realise this, a lot more of us would freely talk about our issues and help more people.

Depressive symptoms

I first started suffering from poor mental health at 18 when I went to Nottingham Trent university to study Sport and Exercise science. I started to express depressive symptoms, and I feel that this was due to the challenges of university and the pressures that come with growing up. The depression stopped me doing my work and I got to a point where I had too much to do in the given timeframe.

Initially I didn’t believe it was depression because I had always been a super positive and exuberant person. This made me miss the obvious signs that I needed help.

Fear of opening up

A couple of off days turned into off weeks and months, but by this point I didn’t want to speak up due to fear and embarrassment of what people might think of me. Eventually, I did speak to someone and it was a huge relief to talk about how I was feeling.

I went to therapy, and I am now able to cope well most days thanks to mindfulness and talking to people when I am down. They don’t have to have the answers, but just speaking to someone helps so much.

“I go for a run when I have something on my mind, and by the time I get back it tends to be resolved.”

Exercise has also been such a prominent part in me improving my mental health. Running especially, is such a stress reliever and makes you feel a lot better; I always go for a run when I have something on my mind, and by the time I get back it tends to be resolved.

In 2019 I managed to get myself a charity place with My AFK to run the London Marathon and raised £6,000. I recently completed the Brighton Marathon and have done various other half marathons and park runs. This will be my biggest challenge by far and I can’t wait to get started!

So, I’ll be running these 7 marathons across Nottingham throughout Mental Health Awareness Week (9th-16th May) with the final destination being at the Victoria Embankment. If anyone could donate, however big or small, it will be greatly appreciated. Let's make a difference and help all of us with mental health problems get the support we need.

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