Marathons Man completes epic ‘Marathons for the Mind’ challenge

The streets of Dublin hosted Peter Thompson’s final marathon yesterday, when he successfully ran his 44th marathon in 44 consecutive days to complete his ‘Marathons for the Mind’ challenge.

The challenge began in Russia on April 1st and concluded yesterday, Sunday 14th May.  In that time, Pete has run a marathon in every country in Europe to raise awareness for mental health and funds on behalf of the charities Livability and Mind.

Peter Thompson and his mum at the finale marathon in Dublin yesterday

Family, friends and supporters from the local community and afar gathered to give Pete a warm reception at his final destination - the beautiful city of Dublin in Ireland.

The challenge has attracted wide media coverage and attention on social media too from the likes of Dame Kelly HolmesPaula Radcliffe & Stephen Fry shown below.

Other highlights from his challenge included:

  • Pete running his 32nd marathon in Malta accompanied by Nathan Farrugia who completed 27 marathons - one in every EU country
  • Meeting the British Ambassador in the British Embassy in Copenhagen after Pete's 40th marathon.

On people that joined him during some of his runs Peter  - quoted in The Times said:

“I developed these intense relationships with people over the four or so hours that they choose to run with me, and the connection has felt very intense despite being so new. Some people want to talk about themselves, some want to ask about me, and others want to be unofficial ambassadors for their countries. Their experiences with mental health have shown me that this complex issue can be broken down very easily if someone is willing to listen.”

Peter Thompson on taking the challenge:

‘In terms of my own experiences of mental health I have had many friends and family members who have and who still suffer from, a variety of mental health conditions. I have seen how debilitating this can be, and how frustrating it can be to see services stretched and the right support often extremely hard to come by.

I would not want to belittle or patronise people with long term mental health issues by suggesting I have suffered seriously myself, but like most of us I can say that I have certainly experienced moments and periods of my life where I feel I have had to reach out for the support of others. This has been more apparent within the last year or so and this challenge is very much a way for me to move forward and take a positive outcome from these experiences.’

Supporting mental health through Livability – what inspired Pete’s run?

One of the charities Peter Thompson ran for is Livability – a national disability and community charity. The charity delivers disability services and community projects throughout the UK, supporting disabled and vulnerable people.

Peter has been inspired by one such service called ‘Livability Holton Lee’ – a wellbeing discovery centre in Poole, Dorset, which delivers a gardening therapy project called Flourish.

Flourish is a gardening therapy programme for disabled people and people living with mental illness. Using the gardens in the expansive wellbeing discovery centre of Livability Holton Lee - activities include horticulture, conservation, woodworking and garden maintenance. 

As a staff member at a local support service in Poole, Peter has seen the impact that the Flourish project has had on the people he has referred to the project.  It supports 60 people each week and helps people grow in confidence, new skills, wellbeing and friendships. 98% of people that attended Flourish in a year reported an increase in social connections.

Supporters from Livability's Flourish project at Livability Holton Lee

Neil Stevens – Centre Manager at Livability’s Holton Lee centre in Poole said:

‘We are delighted that Peter chose to support Livability by attempting this amazing challenge. Livability is a charity that is passionate about tackling barriers that can cause people to be isolated. We know that growing awareness for and supporting people with mental illness is an essential part of this. Through our work at Livability we put this in to action – creating a place of wellbeing, community and inclusion through the horticulture and woodland projects we run at Holton Lee. We are proud that through such projects we are seeing people who live with mental illness report improved levels of wellbeing and social connection. We’re deeply humbled that Peter has chosen such a challenging way in which to help promote this vital and important work.’

Karen Bolton, Community & Events Manager at Mind, said:

"We are truly grateful to Pete for his incredible efforts in undertaking this mammoth challenge and for choosing Mind as one of the charities to benefit from his fundraising. We hope that his challenge will also help to open up the conversation around mental health and encourage more people to get support if they need it. Sport, ecotherapy and exercise not only help to change people’s opinions around mental health, but Peter’s challenge will raise vital money, which will fund Mind’s vital work including the Mind Infoline, our advice services and the campaigning Mind does to secure a better deal for the one in four of us who experience a mental health problem every year.”

How Peter’s support is helping Mind’s work

Money raised from Peter’s challenge will help Mind provide vital support for people with mental health problems, including the Mind Infoline, advice services and the campaigning Mind does to secure a better deal for the one in four of us who experience a mental health problem every year.

Mind provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. It does this through a network of around 140 local Minds who provide services specific to local needs, supporting over 390,000 people each year. Mind also support over 16 million people through its award-winning information services which includes extensive online advice and guides on all aspects of mental health.

On behalf of EtchRock and the entire challenge community, we want to wish Peter congratulations on this fantastic achievement. Marathons for the Mind was a huge success in all regards, with Peter completing all 44 marathons in 44 countries whilst simultaneously raising funds and awareness for the fine folks over at Mind and the great work that they do. Watch this space to see what comes from Peter next! 

For now, I think we can all agree he deserves a well-earned rest!

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