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Marcus’ Story: Our long distance supporter doing a long distance run

Marcus

I live in Australia now, but after losing a close friend to mental health issues, I wanted to do something positive for Manchester – a place and community I have strong connections with.

I’ve never really thought of myself as an active person.  After a lacklustre stint as joint-captain of the football B team and some uninspired P.E. classes in high school I soon learned that coordinating my body to kick, throw, catch or hit anything was much more likely to leave me breathless and embarrassed than result in a last minute winner to secure the House Cup.

Fast-forward some 30 years and those early lessons had shaped me quite literally into a person I was not happy with. An intervention was needed – but what could I do? The boy had now become a middle-aged man with a troubled mind and all the graceful athleticism of a rhinoceros on roller-skates!

In my youth (when ‘playing-out’ was still a thing!) I used to go walking with my cousin around the West Pennine Moors. Long summer days spent wandering – no particular aim, just enjoying the elements and sense of freedom that came so easily with our carefree innocence. But things had changed for me now. I had a job, a family and not much time on my hands. What I did have though, was a bus ride to work each day, and so once a week I started getting off a few stops early to walk the rest of the way in.

This continued for a while, when during one walk I had a rush of blood to the head and started jogging.  Could I run all the way to work?  I wasn’t sure, but I just kept putting one foot in front of the other until, to my surprise, I made it! Sure, my heart was pounding like an angry neighbour against the wall of my chest, but I’d succeeded without the need for medical attention. Once I got my breath back, I felt great about what I’d achieved.

That was three years ago, and since then, with slow and steady improvement I’m now running long distances regularly. One of the things I love about running is that it has a wealth of physical and mental benefits. There’s something so positive and rewarding about taking time out from the daily routine to get your body moving whilst your mind wanders. There’s also a genuine sense of accomplishment, whether it’s completing a quick run around the block when you didn’t think you could get out of bed, or crossing the finish line in an organised event. There’s also a really fantastic running community the world over, whether you’re looking for advice or a group of like-minded souls to pound the pavement with.

I live in Australia now, but after losing a close friend to mental health issues, I wanted to do something positive for Manchester – a place and community I have strong connections with. That’s why I’m challenging myself to run a solo marathon and raising money for this amazing charity, who are doing great work to help local people in need. Your support can really make a difference too.

Is running all high-fives and finisher’s medals? Errr no. There are setbacks and disappointments just like anything else in life. But the most important thing I’ve learnt is that physical activity is a life-long habit.  When you find your ‘thing’ exercise can become part of who you are, not a grind to suffer through for some image of the person you think you should be. If you’ve ever felt the need to get moving, whether it’s running, team sports or a simple stroll through the streets where you live – give yourself a chance and you might, like me, discover that you are an active person after all!

Find out more about my marathon challenge here