As a YHA ambassador, adventurer and endurance athlete, I’m keenly aware of how vital the youth charity’s work is in empowering young people through experiences of travel and real adventure.
For many years I have used sport, exercise and the outdoors as a means of taking care of my own wellbeing. Experience tells me that getting out and active is crucial to maintaining good mental health. YHA is determined to give as many young people as possible access to life-changing adventures. And to reach those with challenging lives who otherwise miss out, they need more help.
So, this year, I’ll be running the London Marathon in a full-size YHA logo costume. My aim is to raise awareness and much needed funds. If I reach my target, it could fund a trip for a whole class — a trip that will boost their confidence, build skills for life and inspire them to fulfil their potential.
I sustained an injury late last year following my second marathon in Chester (2:54:31), which massively limited my ability to stay active and get outdoors for three months. This led to further struggles with mental ill-health, specifically depression, anxiety and an eating disorder. During this time, I appreciated more than ever how easy it is to take the outdoors and being active for granted.
My passion for running has always focused on personal achievement and reaching targets. After slowly returning to training I realised I wouldn’t be able to improve on my time at London. So, I decided to make it about changing lives rather than minutes and seconds, and to run to help other young people to experience the same benefits that running and the outdoors have given me: YHA are the best way of reaching out to them.
Wearing the costume seemed the perfect way to draw attention to the cause and add to the experience of what is widely known as the best marathon in the world – hopefully as the fastest logo/Quality Street Green Triangle ever!
Please give what you can. Thank you!