Peter Thompson

Where are you from?: Bournemouth

Which Charity are you supporting and why?:

Mind & Livability Holton Lee

Mental Health has received a lot more publicity and focus over recent years but it is still widely misunderstood and people who suffer often face discrimination and a lack of long term sustainable support. There is so much more that can, and needs, to be done.

Through this challenge I want to encourage others to be open about mental health and, if comfortable, share their own stories. It is a truly shocking and saddening statistic that the biggest killer of men and women my age is suicide. Surely that needs to change. This is my way to try and raise awareness of mental health issues and use running as a catalyst to raise some money for two inspiring charities at the heart of trying to make a positive change.

What is your challenge?

My challenge is to attempt to run a marathon in every country in Europe in consecutive days. If successful this will result in running 44 marathons in 44 different countries in 44 consecutive days.

The challenge will involve over 1000 miles of running and in excess of 10,000 miles travel, through a mixture of trains, buses, planes and ferries. It will also span the entire content of Europe and see me returning half way through to run the London marathon, flying in from Poland the night before and out again to Portugal the morning after.

The challenge begins on April 1st 2017 (its not an April fool I promise) in St Petersburg Russia and is planned to finish in Dublin on May 14th 2017. I am currently running in excess of 80 miles a week and have done back to back 20 mile runs the last 2 weekends in preparation. My plan is to run the marathons in around 4 hours each, which will hopefully give me time to make the deadline for the transport I need to move onto the next country and do it all over again.

Why did you choose this?

Running is what I know best. I ran my first London marathon for Mind and although on a larger scale my skinny legs are the greatest tool I have to try and make a difference. I’ve been inspired by people such as Eddie Izzard, Ben Smith, the man who conquered 401 marathons in 401 days and many others, who through often less obvious actions or signs of strength, have also fuelled my desire to take on this challenge. I wanted to do something completely different, something that will hopefully capture people imagination and as a result raise the awareness and funds so desperately need around mental health.

I have been running for around 7 years now and have a personal best of 2:25 for the marathon, coming in 25th in the 2015 Amsterdam marathon. Running however has very much become a double edged sword within my life and I keen to open a new chapter and once again step into the unknown. I used to feel a lot of guilt when missing sessions and had lost the ability to switch his focus on and off. My running got to a point where my desire to improve was impacting on my life for the worst and running was simply no longer fun. I now enjoying his running again and feel I has a new understanding of what it gives and what it takes away. I am excited to have rediscovered the reasons why I started running in the first place and this challenge is my way of moving forward and using my running ability to make a difference.

How much are you aiming to raise?

In excess of £20,000

How can people sponsor you?

Through my Virgin money donation page or website.

Your Twitter: @peter26point2
Your Instagram: @peter26point2