What is the Fierce Mind {Running} challenge?

Starting April 2nd, for 42 days I will run from Land’s End to John O’Groats, and back again. Averaging approximately 40 miles per day, supported by different voluntary cyclists and support drivers each day, this will be on roads, paths and even across the West Highland Way, so there will be plenty of hills involved.

I’m not afraid of mountains and trail, my first love is fell running, and I always said I’d never run a road marathon because they’re dull and boring. I’m looking forward to being proved wrong!

One of the main goals that I am keen to strive for is to show that there is no correlation between mental illness and mental weakness, hence the challenge being named Fierce Mind.

The concept of Fierce Mind is about encouraging individuals and teams to take on extreme challenges for a relevant cause in order to raise awareness of a charity or condition, for them to recover from trauma, injury or illness, and to instil a passion and inspiration in others to help where they can.

It signifies true grit and determination, power and strength, taking decisive action and balls of fire. It also resonates with never giving up, never allowing anyone to suppress your spirit, or to ridicule your dreams.

Fierce Mind represents a force of character that comes deep from within, a strong desire to discover more from life after life has knocked you down, to push ones boundaries and comfort zones, to devote a strong link to existence, and to recognise the greatness that we all have within us.

For some, a marathon is enough to push themselves, so why take on something that has never been done before? —I keep asking myself.

The simple answer is that this run is a pilgrimage. I have lost my way over the past few years after several breakdowns and I am at risk of retreating into the shell of a crushed soul. Some part of me is clinging to life with so much gusto and courage that I have to give it a chance to see what it can do. This is that chance. Doing something that has never been done before, something that is beyond my imagination, and something that can benefit others dramatically, while hopefully helping me to find my sense of self once more, is a powerful reason to cling to life with.

Alongside my personal reasons, I will be raising funds for Bipolar UK, Mind, Scottish Association for Mental Health, Young Minds and Place2Be during the process. This is fundamentally because peer support has been the greatest benefit for me and my family: whilst my doctors talk medicine, medicine does not cure anguish, only empathy, understanding, discussion, psychotherapy and self-belief can help with that. This is where Bipolar UK and other mental health charities come in. I feel connected to a tribe, and I am ready to fight for that tribe. Fight stigma. Fight government bias. Fight the secrecy. I am doing this challenge for all those who cannot fight for themselves. I will be running with a fierce mind.

May my heart be kind, my mind fierce, and my spirit brave.

Fierce Mind {Running} is a 42-day running challenge covering approximately 1680 miles — twice the distance of the length of Great Britain.

I am challenging each of you who has had to overcome being broken or suffered a set back to take on your own Fierce Mind challenge by getting actively involved between April 2nd and May 13th.

You can donate to the challenge to support the work of the five national mental health charities that are a part of the backbone of our nation's mental health and emotional wellbeing. Just click on the Virgin Money Giving link to donate, or read more about the charities involved on my website.

You can also keep a track of my training stats here_href="https://www.endomondo.com/embed/user/workouts?id=8406715&measure=1&width=680&height=400

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