My first ever ultra-marathon in support of Rethink Mental Illness.

I was extremely close to my mum so her death hit me hard. I wanted to raise money in honour of them both and for everyone who has suffered with their mental health, and so this is why I chose Rethink Mental Illness.

James

This year I have decided to run my first ever ultra-marathon. It is 35 miles long (or 56km for my European friends). Apparently it is flat for the first 28km but then there are a couple of steep elevations of 180m over 5km followed by another incline of 215m over 4km; just what you need after running the best part of a marathon.

The good news is the marathon I am running is in Cape Town and is sold as the world’s most beautiful marathon. It is called the Two Ocean’s Marathon as you run from one coast to the other. I have never been to South Africa so I am looking forward to exploring the area. This also brings another challenge though; the heat. The race starts at 06:30 to try and avoid the midday sun. I have never been a morning person and being fair of hair and skin I have never gotten on too well with the sun. I think an extremely early night and plenty of sun cream will be in order.

I have chosen to take on this huge challenge in order to raise money for Rethink Mental Illness. When I was 25 I lost my mother to suicide after she had suffered for many years with depression. I had also lost my uncle in the same way the year before. This affected everyone that knew them and I have had my dark times since as well. I was extremely close to my mum so her death hit me hard. I wanted to raise money in honour of them both and for everyone who has suffered with their mental health, and so this is why I chose Rethink Mental Illness. They are a great charity who provide great support to those who need it most. They have also been kind enough and have offered to post my blog on their website. This will allow my story to reach a wider audience and to hopefully achieve my fundraising target of £500. This means a lot for me to be able to do this.

I also want to raise awareness of mental illness and how it can affect people and how common it can be. I have educated people at work. Last week I got up in front of the entire finance department, which was nerve-racking enough, to tell them about my story and the charity I was raising money for. I was surprised the next day when one of my colleagues told me he had had no idea that mental illness was an issue until I had spoken about it. He told me that he had gone home and read a few articles on the subject. So right there, I have already enlightened one person. The support and positive feedback I have received from work has been amazing and I feel so fortunate and pleased with the response.

Two years ago I could barely run downstairs in my flat without getting short of breath. And now I am pushing myself to run 35 miles in one go in the sweltering heat of another country. It will be tough. But every step I take will be for a great cause and the thought of my little run educating people and the money I raise helping Rethink Mental Illness to support more people then need it; this will make the hours of sweat, training, blisters, sores and aches all worthwhile.

Thank you for reading and please donate what you can - https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/James-Morgan24

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