1000 Mile Challenge - Raising Money for Mind UK
Updated: Feb 2
As some of you may know, mental health is a topic close to my heart, and over the last few years many of my ultras have involved also raising money for Mind UK, the Mental Health Charity. Last June, I took part in and completed the Montane Summer Spine Race (268 miles), but at the time didn't set up a JustGiving page to raise money for Mind UK, partly because I've become increasingly self-conscious about charity-fatigue and holding out the begging bowl too often, and partly because I was also worried about raising expectations in terms of a difficult and challenging race that I would then find difficult to complete. I didn't want to let people down, or make them feel that they had donated money under false pretences ! Such are the tricks that our minds often play on us. Afterwards, quite a few friends suggested that I reinvigorate my efforts to combine running with raising money, and that formalising and professionalising some of the publicity around the events might help broaden my fundraising net. So it was that in August 2021, I started a project to run more than 1,000 miles in Ultramarathon races over the course of the subsequent 12 months to raise money for Mind UK, the mental health charity.
The project didn't start well - my first event was an attempt to run 4 ultras in 4 days along the length of the Thames Path, 184 miles from its source in the Cotswolds to its mouth by the Thames Barrier. I completed the 44-mile first day section - the Cotswold Ultra - but underestimated the after-effects of the Summer Spine 6 weeks earlier and suffered a niggling groin strain that forced me to miss the remaining 3 days. Mentally this set me back quite a bit, but I decided to overhaul my diet and training (which I had probably neglected while recovering from the Spine) , and re-launch the project with a 50k race at the start of September. Unfortunately, I contracted Covid a week before the race, so had to go back to the drawing board again, and entered the 70k Yorkshire 3 Peaks Ultra in October. Although still recovering from Covid, I surprised myself by finishing in under 12 hours, and entered two more races - the 83 mile Sunrise Ultra along the Norfolk Coastal Path in December, and the 160 mile Montane Spine Challenger North along the Pennine Way in January. Training went well, and I surprised myself again with a 13th place finish in the Sunrise, and an 11th place finish in the Spine Challenger North, which ended up being 145 miles in the end due to the course diversions prompted by the damage wrought by Storm Arwen - still a long way in the middle of winter !
So as of now, I'm up to 315 miles, just over 30% of the way there towards the 1,000 mile target. With another 800 miles or so of races ahead of me, it's going to be a busy 6 months!
If you would like to donate, please click on the link below to go to the JustGiving page.
Best wishes, Anthony