The original Fierce Mind {Running} 2016 event was intentionally planned as a 42-day challenge covering 1680 miles running twice the length of Great Britain.

For mental health stigma awareness.

Fundraising for five mental health charities.

For a new world record (not to break one).

For a purpose.

“That was Plan A. Plan A is never the plan, it’s just a plan. I finished somewhere at Plan W, which means I still completed within the plan. Result!”

Southbound. Just outside Crediton. Waiting for a tractor to pass.

Back in October 2015 I came up with the idea of running for 42 days from Land’s End to John O’Groats, and back again, to set a new world record to highlight that a mental illness diagnosis does not mean you are exempt from achieving something extraordinary. Even though there are many days where you will inevitably feel worthless.

Averaging approximately 40 miles per day, supported by a cyclist, and a driver or two, with my nutrition planned out to the calorie, routes planned out to the pitstop, on roads, paths, and even across the West Highland Way, very quickly it became evident that the support crew I had imagined was not a reality. It became a solo unsupported mission grabbing support wherever, and whenever, I could, whilst overcoming injuries, illness, fluctuations in mood and close calls with drivers.

The end result was:

  • 16 days’ enforced rest with
  • 79 days on the move
  • over 1790 miles
  • including 24 ultra-marathons
  • 48 half-to-full marathons
  • and the equivalent of running up and down Mount Everest over 8 times

I wasn’t afraid of mountains and trail (that bit does help), my first love is fell running and I always said I’d never run a road marathon because they’re dull and boring. Whilst some roads (the country ones without the white centre line) are magical routes, running on roads without adequate footpaths is something I never want to revisit voluntarily. They aren’t boring (well, they are), they are simply dangerous. I wasn’t afraid of the challenge and what it would do to me, I’ve already been to hell and back, and running isn’t it. But I was perhaps afraid to fail.

Being able to champion five very important national charities was part of the story as I travelled across the country. Coming across people who manage a mental illness or who have been affected by a family member of friend who is suffering, was a common story and one I could easily relate to. It brought the world closer around my shoulders and for several brief moments I felt part of a community no matter where I set foot. The national charities that were supported, all for personal reasons, were:

Northbound. Peak of Devil’s Staircase. West Highland Way.

Physically, I was pushed to my limits, training was a priority, but there is never enough training for the real thing, especially when life gets in the way.

Mentally, I had already completed the course and was planning the next one before it had even begun! My mother calls it being stubborn.

Not wanting to eclipse the enormity of this event in order to maximise the fundraising and World Record accreditation potential, that said, I have itchy feet and a brain that is popping out ideas like a popcorn maker. For the next instalment of creative adventuring in support of mental health, just check out #Challenge5Alive. Meanwhile, here are some pictorial highlights of the Fierce Mind/LEJOGLE16 adventure (sometimes needs a moment to load).

For more details of the Fierce Mind {Running} event, please take a look at the Fierce Mind website.


One reply on “LEJOGLE16”