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My year of running for Mind

Monday, 27 September 2021 William

William blogs about why he decided to raise £2,021 for us by running 2,021 miles in 2021.

Like many people, faced with the uncertainty and restrictions of the global pandemic, I found myself wanting to find a purposeful way of not only giving back to others but to help support my own mental wellbeing.

“With the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, we are all facing so many more pressures.”

I don’t think anyone can honestly say they haven’t experienced some problems with their mental health over the course of their lives from anxiety to panic attacks, stress to depression. And now with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, we are all facing so many more pressures. Many of us have been struggling and I can only imagine for those already living with mental health problems, they have been facing extra challenges.

I’ve never been diagnosed with mental health issues, but like most people, I’ve had to deal with feelings of stress in my work and personal life. Being under pressure is a normal part of life and for me it’s important to recognise when it's all becoming a bit too much and how I manage these feelings. Exercise has always helped me manage feelings of stress.

Wanting to give back

The demand for support from charities like Mind has grown immensely and, in a year when charities are struggling financially because of events being cancelled, I wanted to set myself a fundraising challenge to give back, and I couldn’t think of a better charity to be running for.

This challenge has helped to keep me motivated and provided consistency during this global pandemic. It’s given me a focus that is not Covid or work related.

I used to row competitively at university but wanted to challenge myself with a different type of exercise, so I decided to take up running. I set myself the challenge of running 2,021km  in 2021 to raise £2,021 for Mind.

“I really enjoy the routine the challenge gives me and that it’s something to focus on aside from Covid”

It’s been a tough challenge, but it keeps my mind focused and keeps me going every day. I’ve injured my knee through running (physio is helping) so I have realised the importance of rest days! I really enjoy the routine the challenge gives me and that it’s something to focus on aside from Covid and work – which had been taking over.

We’re now halfway through the year, and I am on track to hit my distance in the next couple of months and my fundraising target is 95% achieved.

Pushing myself

I want to keep on pushing myself, so I have now increased my weekly runs to cover a marathon distance (26.2miles) and by the end of the year I should have run about 2,500kms.

My skills as a project manager have helped keep me on track as I have, so I’ve been told, a very impressive excel spreadsheet that calculates my run distances. I look forward to seeing the column turn green each week when I hit 26.2miles.

I’ve also really benefited from bringing nature into my everyday life – both my mental and physical wellbeing has improved. I’ve seen some fantastic scenery on my runs from frozen Aberdeen beaches to the iconic buildings of London.

The work and support Mind provides is so important and I’ve not only been able to support them through this challenge, but also through my company Mace. Mace has been supporting Mind since 2016, and together with Mace people, has donated over half a million pounds to support people with mental health problems.

If you would like to follow my journey or support my fundraising efforts, click here. Taking part in this challenge not only helps me manage my stress levels but will also help others – it’s a win win situation!

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