Running 60 Miles in September For CALM

I run. It’s an ongoing joke amongst those who listen to the podcast. I made a big thing of taking up running a year ago, and with your generosity and my feet pounding the pavement, we raised £1300.

A lot has happened since then. I did a 10k for fun, which sounds absurd even now. I kept running through until April and have been sporadic ever since. As of today, it is time to start doing it for a purpose again, and I have a reason for making the decision. You’re going to have that reason fired at you now, but please do read on.

I’ve been a big advocate for mental health over the years. I like to think I try to help people who struggle and give practical advice if asked. I don’t like to set myself up as anything other than a guy who has been there and come out the other side, and I shy away from talking about how I feel these days – mainly because my life is great. I got married this summer (twice), with June 17th becoming the best day of my life. I never wanted it to end.

What a summer it was

However, it did end, and since then, I feel I’ve been coming off the rails a bit. We’re not talking about anything serious, but little by little, things have begun to mount up. There’s definitely been a hangover from the wedding, a feeling of wanting it all over again and again. I’d hoped to fill the rest of the summer by reconnecting with people who came to the wedding and spending time with friends to soften the blow, but the weather put paid to that. Then there have been situations to deal with here at the Stacey West, which have been challenging, and similar over at The Real EFL. I started making silly errors in my proper job and then dwelling on them. Over the last ten days or so, I’ve been poorly; nothing serious, just a bit of a cold, but Fe and I had to cancel our 12-year anniversary (of our first date) meal at Lawson’s, and I haven’t been able to run. As a result, I’ve put a stone on since I ran the 10k. That’s the sort of chain of events that can begin a spiral.

Not for me. Not anymore, because I know when there are situations that could, if left unchecked, become an issue. I have the mechanisms to cope with a bad day, tough week and even a challenging month, but others do not. People may begin to stumble in their lives, and there’s nobody there to catch them, no net they have put in place to prevent a proper fall. Those people need the support of charities like CALM, which brings me to my challenge.

One of my mechanisms is running. I’m not the only one – someone I know has struggled with their mental health for a long while, and recently they took up running and eating a bit better, and it’s worked wonders. They’ve lost weight, they’re smiling about the place now, and they attribute that to their health kick. I’m not preachy, but these days when I begin to feel the weight going on, having a goal to shift it again, having the desire to get out and pound some tarmac makes me feel positive. I want to use my coping mechanism to help others, and I’m going to do that by doing a sponsored event.

There’s no expectation of donations, I won’t spam timelines asking for money only to update you on my progress. However, if you feel that you’d like to help me help those who are struggling with life, then you can do so.

My goal is to run 60 miles in September. I’m cheating a little – I’ve started today, but with no fewer than five nights out planned this month, I figured I might need a head start on the miles! I’ve also got jury service, midweek matches, and all manner of stuff, so to get the running in as well is going to be a challenge.

Please, don’t think it sounds like a breeze for a ‘runner’ – prior to today, I’d run just 16.8 miles in August and just 22 miles in July. Even in April, with the Lincoln 10k, I only just ran over 30 miles. 60 miles? It’s going to take a huge effort. It’s going to test me like I haven’t tested myself before – putting distances over time, challenging me to get out even when life is conspiring to make it difficult. However, it will also be head-clearing, and it’ll give me something positive to focus on. It’ll arrest this late summer slide, and hopefully, we can help out some people with their own slide by raising a few quid for the excellent CALM to do their thing.

There’s no expectation or pressure to donate, but if you can spare a fiver, please do head over to my Just Giving page and support my endeavour. I’ll be updating another article on a daily basis, keeping a run diary of where I’ve been and how it felt, which I hope may inspire someone else to see running as their salvation, their coping mechanism. Helping people isn’t always just about raising money, it’s about setting an example, showing them what might be achieved and what can genuinely help.

If you wish to donate, you can do so by clicking this link.

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