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!” Yvie Johnson

That was the plan

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


  • 2nd April 2016

    Land’s End 0635am

  • 4th April 2016

    The 1st crossing of Dartmoor

  • 16th April 2016

    Closing in on Bristol.

  • 19th April 2016

    Tintern Abbey

  • 24th April 2016


  • 29th April 2016

    Fulwood Barracks, Preston

  • 1st May 2016

    Last English County before Scotland!

  • 4th May 2016

    Crossing into Scotland!

  • 8th May 2016


  • 10th May 2016

    North tip of Loch Lomond

  • 11th May 2016

    West Highland Way from the Devil’s Staircase, Glencoe, Highlands

  • 13th May 2016

    Arriving in Fort Augustus

  • 16th May 2016


  • 19th May 2016

    John O’Groat’s finally through the storm!

  • 25th May 2016

    Near Evanston

  • 27th May 2016

    Near Drumnadrochit, on the Great Glen Way

  • 29th May 2016

    Gaerlochy, nr Fort William

  • 31st May 2016

    Beinglas Farm, north of Loch Lomond

  • 1st June 2016

    End of West Highland Way, Milngavie

  • 2nd June 2016

    People’s Palace, Glasgow

  • 7th June 2016


  • 8th June 2016

    Back in Cumbria

  • 11th June 2016

    Shap Summit

  • 15th June 2016


  • 18th June 2016

    South of Whitchurch

  • 20th June 2016

    Long Mynd, Shropshire Hills

  • 23rd June 2016

    Nr St Weonards

  • 25th June 2016

    Leaving Wales, crossing the Severn Bridge

  • 26th June 2016

    Between Bristol and Cheddar

  • 30th June 2016

    2nd crossing of Dartmoor

  • 1st July 2016

    Arriving in Cornwall at Gunnislake

  • 3rd July 2016

    Eden Project, nr St Austell

  • 5th July 2016

    Passing St Michaels Mount, half a marathon to go…

  • 5th July 2016

    Finishing at Land’s End!

The purpose of it all

These results reverberated through my heart and mind as both a collection of many successes, and a failure of many sorts. I didn’t raise any where near what I set out to raise. I can’t put my finger on why, I know that many who run one capital-city marathon in any given year will have raised ten times the sum I managed.

This is one of the failures I keep tucked in my heart, that special place for humility, because it was the issue I really wanted to make a difference with; the appalling lack of funding for our mental health services and charities.

With hindsight, lots of things would have been different, but with hindsight I know that things had to turn out the way they did because I had personal lessons to learn.

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.



  • Bipolar UK is the only national charity dedicated to empowering individuals and families affected by bipolar.

    Bipolar UK 
  • YoungMinds is the UK’s leading charity fighting for children and young people's mental health.

  • SAMH is Scotland’s national mental health charity.

  • Place2Be is a children’s mental health charity working with pupils, families and staff in UK schools.

  • Mind provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem.


What about the World Record?

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 adventure before it had even begun! Some called me crazy. My mother calls it being stubborn. I call it being passionate about life.

The thousands of images, hundreds of videos, sets of records, data points for GPS, they’re all in a box now. Each time I started to compile the event so that I could apply for the World Record, my brain would freeze with the overwhelm of emotion, I’d have to take a step back to reconsider putting my mind through the whole course again. It deserves to be recognised, the people who volunteered to support me along the way deserve to be rewarded for their generosity, time and even financial support. With due diligence the record will be submitted in time, before then I hope to create my graphic novel memoir. Perhaps through illustrating and writing about it from an observer’s point of view I will be better able to dig into the actual records again and finally apply for that elusive Guinness World Record.

Thank you! Diolch!