One year on…


Not another blog update asking for money, haven’t we cured mental illness yet?  Well, not quite but don’t worry there’s no need to keep donating every time.  Of course if you can and want to that’s brilliant.  I’ve had several people ask about my fundraising in the last few months so thought it was time to update this and get started.

My fundraising page covers several events this year, starting with the Milton Keynes marathon on May 6th.  I can’t say training has been as sensible as last year, with the 6-month winter more conducive to staying in bed.  I have no idea how the race will go, but I know how much the donations helped me keep running last year so would really appreciate any further generosity.  Plus, I’ve spent much of the last year meeting lots of new people…not solely with the purpose of squeezing charity donations out of them, but it all helps.  If it works I may be recycling my friends each year, no offence.

Assuming I make it through Milton Keynes, I’ll be doing the Run to the Beat Half Marathon, the Royal Parks Ultra (yes ultra) and the Great South Run for the third year running, with improvement becoming increasingly difficult.  I will probably add some other events along the way and my fundraising will last until the end of 2013.  There’s no target other than to raise as much as possible and I’ll keep going regardless.  If anyone wants to recommend any other events and challenges they’d be happy to sponsor me to endure then please go ahead.

The ultra-marathon is around 32 miles, which doesn’t sound much further than a marathon, but the last 5 miles of a normal marathon is painful enough.  I just thought it would be nice to extend the distance again and have a new challenge.  Anything to avoid actually having to worry about running fast and beat a specific time.  I’m a lazy runner at heart.

Most events should seem easier after the Grim run in December (see below).  It’s never a good sign when they have to spend the days before smashing up all the ice in the lakes and puddles.  Running/wading through what feels like frozen glass isn’t pleasant.  It was up to my neck after about 10 minutes and I just about froze to death.  Worse still, I got stuck in such thick mud to my waist that my shorts became so heavy they fell down.  You can’t run with shorts around your ankles, but you also can’t pull them up with frozen hands you can’t feel.  That might not sound like an ideal relaxing way to spend a Sunday, but you do end up feeling more alive than in everyday life and never regret doing it by the end.  That said, I’m much happier to consider warmer challenges.

Basically I’m just going to keep running until Mind have too much money.  Then I’ll keep running anyway.  People think I’m crazy for running so far…particularly when I’m wearing my mental health t-shirt.  I’m sure I used to view it the same way and it can sound boring.  I hate running at the gym, primarily because I don’t have the attention span to not fall off the treadmill.  Exercise is great for mental health anyway, but even better when getting outside.  It can be boring if you’re just running around the same routes in circles, just focusing solely on the exercise.  I prefer distance running partly for the thinking time but most for exploring new areas, getting lost and being surprised where you end up.  Particularly in London you can see a lot of interesting things out running for a few hours.  Last week I ran past street magicians, several live bands, a man juggling fire, a car crash, and many animals at Mudchute farm, some of which I stopped to have a delusional 18 mile-mark chat with.  Throw in amazing parks, buildings and famous sights and it’s hard to be bored.  Then yesterday’s painfully slow and scarily final big training run took me out towards Richmond which could have been the countryside anywhere and feels like you’re getting out of London for the day.

It’s the London marathon on Sunday and sadly I won’t be taking part this year.  After the great support I received last year I’ll be going along to watch and cheer people on though and I urge everyone in London to do the same.  It really doesn’t feel like a year since I ran it.  I can still remember the feeling 5 minutes in of realising quite what I’d signed up to and how unprepared I was.  Running around much of the route last week for the first time since I could again feel the pain of the seemingly endless hours around Canary Wharf.  Good luck to anyone taking part this year!

There was so much effort involved in taking part last year, the training, the fundraising and even writing this blog that it was quite difficult in the month or so after the race.  Much like any big events I suppose, but I didn’t run at all for a few weeks and didn’t have a lot to focus on.  The irony of post-marathon for Mind depression didn’t make it feel much better but coming through it increased my desire to take part in more events and keep fundraising.  I think it’s important to have new challenges on the horizon in any aspect of life after such a big event.  Running in general continues to help.  It may not be a cure for anything but it’s a great start and it’s helped me immensely.  Fundraising for Mind helps raise awareness, get people talking about important issues and fight prejudice, and that’s before even spending the money.

Thanks again for all donations in the past, all future generosity and to everyone for just reading the blog.  It’s great just to know people are reading it.  Obviously I like to think Anne Frank would have been a fan.


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