Why are you running the marathon?
I have always wanted to run the London Marathon, and have applied via the ballot 13 times, and this time I was lucky enough to get a place! I enjoy running, I took it up to help improve my own mental health (although I am not used to this kind of distance!), and really wanted to set myself the challenge, in what is probably the greatest marathon in the world.
Why are you running it for Heads Together?
Mental health is a passion of mine, especially good mental health. I’ve lived with anxiety and depression for over 20 years now, and am not afraid to talk about it, in fact I actively talk about it in my job role as a university lecturer to try and remove stigma and raise awareness with colleagues and students. My family has faced many challenges as a result of poor mental health, including recently losing a family member to suicide. Heads Together is a wonderful charity, and the work they do is incredibly important, so I thought that if I could use my running to benefit the charity then why not!
What are you most excited about on race day?
Everything really! I’m a little nervous as well, but I just want to get going, complete the challenge and enjoy every minute of it.
What’s keeping you motivated?
The kind words and donations from everyone who has sponsored me, the encouragement and support from my wife and children and the fact that running the marathon will have a benefit for others via the charity.
What’s your top tip of advice for a fellow marathon runner?
There’s so much you could say about shoes, socks, comfort, keeping hydrated and fuelled… but mine would be to not set off too fast, the old adage of “it’s a marathon not a sprint” is important to remember – pace yourself!
Learn more about Neil’s story here.