A few posts ago I mentioned that I would be running in this year's Great South Run in Portsmouth, and a blog post soliciting sponsorship would appear in due course. So, here it is. I'm running to raise money for the mental health charity MIND. Mental health problems have been a problem for both me personally and close family members and friends, as one might expect from a range of problems that directly afflict 1 in 4 people in any given year. I'm not sure what the age profile is for prevalence of mental health problems, but as someone who works in a University in a role which has its pastoral aspects, I have seen plenty of students suffering over the years. It seems that around the time of going to University can often be the time when mental health problems become overbearing for some, and I like to think that my own experiences make me especially sympathetic to those students who have come for me as help.
From personal experience I am aware of some of the help that MIND provide, in the form of providing activities and support groups, and it is no small part to charities such as MIND that the long-standing stigma attached to mental health problems is being challenged, and changing for the better.
On more physical side of health, I was never much of an athlete at school. I was always among the last to be picked in the playground when football teams were selected, and I'm not sure that I ever managed to run a whole circuit of the 300m racetrack in secondary school without stopping. The annual cross-country race was a thing of terror for me. As at many schools, across many areas, my lack of ability in this area led to a lack of interest from the teachers, and I was content to more or less minimise my athletic exposure. Only much later did I attempt to redress this, and five years ago I practiced for, and then ran the 10 mile Great South Run. I've kept up running a bit sporadically since then, though never for distances approaching 10 miles. In preparation for next week I ran 7 miles this morning (see graphic attached to this post), and I have little doubt that I'll be able to do 10 miles next weekend. The Archers omnibus will help me through much of it... So, I'm partly doing the run for myself, but I'm asking for sponsorship not for a sponsored nap, or beer-tasting session, but for something that will be no cakewalk for me. I've paid the entrance fee, and any sponsorship you pass my way will go straight to MIND. So... if the hard sell has convinced you, the page to go to for donations is here.