Alan Bateson from Bishop’s Castle is set to run the entire 177-mile length of Offa’s Dyke this June to raise money for a mental health charity.
The path has an elevation gain of nearly 30,000 feet, which is the equivalent of going up Mount Everest from sea level, and then back down again. The 42 year old long distance running enthusiast will attempt to run the full distance within 60 hours, only stopping to eat, drink and take small rest breaks.
Alan will be raising money for CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) that offers a free helpline to support anyone in crisis, to help prevent suicide, the single biggest killer of men under 45. Seventy-five per cent of all UK suicides are male. On average, 12 men take their own lives every day in the British Isles.
Alan has suffered with mental health issues and in the past has tried self-medicating with alcohol, drugs and prescribed anti-depressants. It was only through the help of a now defunct mental health charity that he was able to get back on track, so he wants to give back that goodwill by raising money for CALM.
Alan said, “What helped my mental health issues was being able to talk openly and honestly, be that with friends, family or counsellors. I’ve spoken to them all over the years, and every conversation has helped. Also, physical activity has continued to play a huge role in keeping me mentally well.
“Over the last few years I have got more and more into long distance running. I nearly always run on trails and footpaths. Being close to nature and out ‘whatever the weather’ makes me feel peaceful and content. The mental challenge to keep going when it hurts and I’m tired, is similar to those days in life when I want to quit and hide from the world. Ultra running to me is just like life, and it’s made my life so much better. It’s taught me to dig deep inside myself when I’m feeling empty, and reminds me I have more to give than I ever thought I did.”
Alan will embark on the challenge on June 21, running the Offa’s Dyke trail from north to south.
He adds, “I want people to be aware of how exercise and running can help, and how we are capable of more than we think.”
Alan has already raised 89 per cent of his £4,000 target with 160 donations to date. To make a donation to Alan’s campaign visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/alan-bateson1.
CAPTION: Alan takes a break from training for his big challenge.