As many of us are looking forward to a summer of BBQs and beer gardens, former Cornwall resident Gary Head is taking on the physical challenge of a lifetime.
Over the course of six weeks, Gary is running the entire length of the coast from Minehead in Somerset to Sandbanks in Poole – a staggering distance of 1,013 km (630 miles) – at a pace of a half marathon every day. His goal is to raise £1,013 for each of the three Mind offices in Cornwall, Devon and Dorset as part of his ‘Miles for Minds’ run.
He is running in memory of his friend John Paul Childs, who took his own life in January 2018, and is hoping that his challenge will raise awareness of the importance of providing support for people struggling with their mental health.
“Losing a friend in such heartbreaking circumstances was difficult for everyone that knew Johnno,” says Gary. “For me, mental health issues have added meaning because my own mother has lived with schizophrenia for most of her life.
“These days, I work for Active Dorset, one of 43 Active Partnerships across England. A big part of what we do is promoting value of being physically active and how it can impact positively on a person’s physical and mental health.
“For me personally, I’ve always seen the coast as a place where I go when feeling down or stressed. Walking, running or just being near the South West Coast Path at any point is particularly cathartic and of huge importance to me, especially in difficult times”
To further promote the links between physical and mental health, Gary is inviting people to join him at different points on his incredible journey, for as little or as long as they like. “I’ll have friends and family joining me at various points along the route, and I’d welcome anyone who wants to join me walking or running along the coastal path,” he says.
To see how Gary is progressing, and to work out where you can join him, you can follow him on Twitter @miles_4_minds or his Facebook page (Miles for Minds). If you’d like to donate, go to https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/MilesforMinds.