Joe is undertaking the challenge of running from Leeds to London to then take part in the marathon, all within 10 days. We spoke to him about his preparation for this challenge, and the fundraising he is doing for Rethink Mental Illness.


What are you doing to fundraise?


I am using social media to really try and promote my challenge and the reasons for why I am doing it. My colleagues have also been amazing with helping me fundraise. They have already held one raffle and currently working up another raffle, this time with donated prizes/gifts from high street shops. They are also currently in talks with supermarkets to arrange days where they can bag pack. There is a plan to wear red on Valentines day and all donations from this are going towards my fundraising goal and this is in addition to the cake sales which are going down very well in the teams.


Have you ever run the London marathon before? Why did you decide to do it?


I have never run the London marathon before. I remember from a young age watching the London Marathon every year on the television with my grandparents. My nan sadly passed away a couple of years ago and I have been trying to get into the London Marathon ever since as a way of remembering her and showing her that I have finally achieved it. It is also, in my opinion, the greatest marathon in the world for the crowds, the landmarks and its history.  


Who are you running for and why?


I am running for Rethink Mental Illness. I was a child carer growing up for a relative who struggled with their mental health and then subsequently became a mental health nurse. My goal is to raise £10,000 to pay for mental health first aid and awareness training to be rolled out to organisations, companies and groups to help reduce stigma and to create environments where everyone can feel supported and able to talk about their mental health.


I hope that once training has started to be delivered, further training in more departments/teams will be wanted and will be seen as a must have. No one should feel that they are not valued, treated with respect or supported due to having difficulties with their mental health and I truly believe that this can change.  


What's the most unexpected thing you've learnt so far in your training?


I have been so surprised at how amazing the body can be. I never thought I would ever be running the distances I am now, with my body adapting to allow me to achieve this. I remember running my first half marathon and how tired I was after that, I am now running that distance and further several times a week.


What are you finding most helpful for your training?


Small increases in my weekly running goals. I have been increasing the miles I run each week by 5 miles. These small increases have been helping me avoid injury, kept me motivated and improved my overall fitness ready for my challenge.


What are you finding the hardest?


Having to fit my training around working full time. As I need to increase my miles every week I am having to run further on evenings/mornings and weekends. Making sure I reach my training goals whilst gaining plenty of rest and recovery is becoming more and more of a challenge. Having to be strict on when I rest and train is certainly what I am finding hardest at the moment.


What's your top training tip?  


I’m going to be a little cheeky and have two if that is ok. Firstly, setting weekly goals. Setting weekly goals gives you a focus and is something you can feel extremely proud of when you achieve them. My second top tip is getting through that initial motivation struggle. It is cold and raining outside, it would be really nice to stay in the warm and watch a bit of television, however you know you have to put on those trainers and head out to train. My tip is to not let that internal battle of motivation get in the way. Once you are out, in your trainers, it is much easier. The hard part is the actual getting out. Make sure you are proud of yourself for getting out and training!


What makes you most excited about running the London Marathon? What makes you most nervous?


What makes me most excited about running the London Marathon is knowing that to get to there is a huge achievement and this is certainly something I will be reminding myself on my around.


I always get a nervous feeling before challenges, I think this is an excited nervousness but nevertheless it is nerves! Because I think of what I might achieve if I complete the London Marathon this puts a little pressure on me which makes me nervous.   

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