2020 … Let’s Get Running!

Happy 2020 to all of you... and apologies for not having written anything since last June! Let's just say it's been a busy time. So much to write about and update here and it will happen over the weeks ahead.

I did need to tell you all about something special though... let me start with the question, "what do you when you are already busy?"

My answer is to stay busy, but busy doing things you love! So in 2020, that's exactly my plan. This year, therefore, I am running 20 endurance events (17 marathons and 3 ultramarathons) to support four charities who are changing the lives of young people through mental health campaigns, football and running.

In 2006, I attempted to take my life for a third and final time, I couldn't envisage a life beyond the darkness that had encaged me over a period of 15 years living in the chaos of undiagnosed mental illness.

Fourteen years later, I am blessed by the life I have, free from those chains and now able to speak openly about my life instead of hiding alone in silence.

I, some time ago, made a promise to commit my life to helping others avoid what I lived through – to give them a voice, to give hope and dignity.

  • Mental illness and homelessness defined a long and difficult period of my life
  • Football gave me an unbelievable sense of belonging as I begun my steps of recovery
  • Running has given me a sensational platform to maintain my mental health and by which to raise money to support others

So here are those four special causes:

Mind, the mental health charity

The charity that gave me hope and dignity after that final suicide attempt and the one for which I am so proud to have been an ambassador, fundraiser and campaigner for many years

Heads Together

The mental health initiative spearheaded by the Royal Foundation, a driving force behind the 2017 'Mental Health Marathon' and the HeadsUp campaign with the Football Association. I'm so privileged to have been involved in their work to tackle stigma and change conversations by providing innovative new mental health services - you'll find a familiar face about 27 minutes into the film below!

Football Beyond Borders

Football was a massive part of my recovery from mental illness. FBB supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who are passionate about football but disengaged at school in order to help them finish school with the skills and grades to make a successful transition into adulthood. They do this by providing long-term, intensive support, built around relationships and young people’s passions, in the classroom and beyond.

The Running Charity

Homelessness and mental illness often go hand in hand and I experienced homelessness, something which frightened me much more than the illness itself. The Running Charity believe that running builds resilience, confidence and self-esteem and use this to improve the lives of 16-25 year-olds who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

I thank you in advance for all of your support and from the bottom of my heart for your generosity to this point. We really can change the world for future generations.

Events so far confirmed

  • 7 March: Thames Meander Marathon
  • 5 April: ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon
  • 20 April: The Boston Marathon
  • 26 April: Virgin Money London Marathon
  • 9 May: Dulux London Revolution (50km)
  • 7 June: Wrath of Poseidon Marathon, London
  • 5 July: Hever Castle Festival of Endurance Marathon
  • 25 July: South West Coast 2 Coast Challenge, Minehead to Dawlish (102 km)
  • 13 September: Richmond Runfest Marathon
  • 27 September: BMW Berlin Marathon

So 2020 will be a busy but special year, my second of marriage to my wonderful wife, Claire, and a final crazy fundraising adventure.

Please do support me in my endeavours to help four charities making such a difference to the future of young people. The fundraising page can be found at

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/RoTwenty20

Tell us what you think...