Oxford teacher Simon Vaisey is over halfway through a running challenge that will see him take on 50 marathon events over 50 weeks, covering 1,046 miles, to raise money for Samaritans.
Simon, who has run a marathon event every week since 9 September last year, is attempting to run 30 marathons and 20 half marathons in the UK and in Barcelona, Poland and San Diego.
New to running, Simon hopes to avoid fatigue by powering through events thinking of the finish line.
“I just think about the number 50 when I’m running and what the finish line of every race looks like, that’s what keeps me going. I’ve not picked up any injuries so far - let’s hope it stays that way.”
After experiencing difficulties at University, Simon’s mental health rapidly declined, and he lost a lot of weight. He reached out to Samaritans for support.
“Factors that were both in and out of my control were the forces of a change in me. Late one night, I decided to call Samaritans and felt a huge sense of relief. Having someone listen and let me talk, without any judgement, felt so good.
“I want to use my voice to shout about this issue with the hope that anyone who is struggling will seek help and not be worried about doing it – especially men. Through my completion of 50 marathons, I hope that my efforts will raise awareness of the support that young people need in schools, colleges and universities.”
In April, Simon will take part in three of the country’s most famous marathons including Manchester, Brighton and London. The London Marathon will be Simon’s 30th marathon, where he will join 72 runners who will be taking on the 26.2 mile race to support Samaritans. Simon ends his mammoth challenge with the Great North Run on 8 September.
Amongst the runners at London will be Dave Lock, who will be running his 21st consecutive London Marathon for Samaritans in a giant green phone costume. Since, the costume’s debut in 2003, Dave has run four half marathons and 19 marathons in the green telephone – that’s 553 miles.
Emma Sutehall, Senior Events Fundraiser at Samaritans, said: “Good luck to Simon, Dave and all our runners that are pounding through the streets in preparation for the big day. We hope Simon makes it through his impressive marathon challenge without too many bumps and blisters – it’s a huge feat and we’re with him all the way.”
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