I didn’t find out I had a place in the Marathon until February, but it wasn’t something I could turn down. It was fitting being a late entrant given how late I came to running at all. It’s only really the last three years I’ve been running regularly, taking part in my first 10km in 2010. Even that seemed an unlikely distance at the start, but now I’m training to run over four times further!
Although partly to improve my physical health it soon became apparent there was a great impact on mental health too. Not merely the increased confidence and self-esteem that comes with challenging yourself, but the knowledge that you’re doing all you can for your health. Depression may still remain, but you feel like you’re fighting it as hard as possible.
You certainly have more energy and opportunities seem more possible in other aspects of life too.
Each week in the UK 108 people will take their own lives and by 2020 depression will be the second leading cause of disability worldwide. With my own experience of depression I was delighted to have the opportunity to raise funds for Mind throughout this London Marathon campaign. Mental health is still treated as a taboo by many people, and still discriminated against by some others. Helping Mind not only supports their great work, but raises awareness of mental health issues, reduces stigma and encourages people to discuss their problems.
This is a fantastic challenge for me and not something I ever dreamed I could achieve (not that I have yet!). Training has been tough but enjoyable and I’m glad to say as yet there haven’t been any setbacks. Fundraising has also gone well and I’m well on target to beat my target of £1,650. Family and friends and work colleagues have been really generous.
Just discovering more about my own physical limits has been reward enough, and I encourage anyone else to take up the challenge as you’ll be pleasantly surprised. You can visit my Marathon blog for more information on my training, fundraising and the importance of increased awareness for mental health conditions. And you can sponsor me here.
Thank you and good luck to everyone else running for charity.