Ultra runner Alan to take on 1,047-mile challenge

An ultra-runner from Bishop’s Castle is set to take on his biggest challenge to date. This summer Alan Bateson, pictured, will be running the Wales Coast Path and Offa’s Dyke combined – a total of 1,047 miles – which is further than from Land’s End to John O’Groats. Setting off on June 26, he will be attempting to break the record by completing the distance in 22 days, averaging 48 miles and over 4,500 feet elevation gain a day. Alan will be raising money for The Children’s Society and Axis Counselling in the process.

This isn’t Alan’s first major challenge. In 2021 he ran the 177 mile length of Offa’s Dyke in aid of CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), a charity which helps prevent suicide. He completed the run in just over 3 days, raising over £21,000 for the charity. In 2022 he took on the 870 mile length of the Wales Coastal Path in aid of YoungMinds. Unfortunately, an ankle injury meant he was unable to complete the challenge. He still raised nearly £5,000 over the 580 miles he completed.

Alan now plans to combine his last two challenges to raise funds for two charities that help young people with issues similar to the ones he faced as a child.

Alan, 44, is a hairdresser, running coach and founder of Runningmonk Trail Events which encourages runners of all abilities to get into trail running. He has suffered with mental health issues throughout his life including alcoholism. At 38 he got sober and committed to a new way of life, which would encourage others to pursue a healthy lifestyle too.

“Running 1,047 miles in 22 days is an epic challenge, one that will severely test me,” Alan said. “I’ll be drawing on my life experiences, which I see as training for the way I deal with life now. I have been in situations that have taken me lower and to darker places than this challenge ever will. If I can overcome them, then I can definitely do this.

“Those experiences include being sexually abused as a child, suffering with mental health issues all my life, being on meds on and off from age 17-30, and having problems with both alcohol and drug addiction. I’ve also spent time in a young offender institution, been arrested multiple times, and had community service orders and fines. All of this made me feel I was of no use to society, a let-down to my family and filled me with self-loathing.

“Getting sober, finding my way back to fitness, and learning how to talk openly about my past, is now my path. I want to use my experiences to inspire others to overcome their past and achieve whatever they put their mind to. Running is the tool I use to stay on the right track, it brings my life structure, gives me self-respect and a clear vision of where I want to go with my life.

“I want this challenge to help raise money and awareness for these charities that are helping people who might have had similar experiences to me.”

 

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