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Running helped my mental health at a challenging time in my life

Dan started running nine years ago at the age of 43. He’s since completed nine marathons and will be taking part in this year’s virtual London Marathon in memory of his friend Terry, who died of lung cancer in 2019.

A few years ago, I was in a bad place in my life and my mental health was really suffering. Running helped get me out of my home and into a better space.

I used to play football when I was younger but I hadn’t played in a while. The first time I tried going for run, I got to the end of the street and stopped. Although it wasn’t far, it felt like such an achievement. I thought “next time I’ll try and run for a kilometre”. I gradually began building myself up to longer runs and by the time I’d managed two kilometres, I decided to sign up to my first marathon on a whim. That was back in 2011 – and from then I caught the “running bug”. I’ve now run nine marathons.

London Marathon

I’ve lived in Australia for almost 30 years since arriving as a backpacker from the UK in 1991. I’ve run marathons in Australia and the US but I’ve always had my heart set on the London Marathon as it’s in my home city. I was due to run this year’s event back in April but sadly with Covid-19, it wasn’t to be. While I plan to defer my place to next year when I’ll come back to London, I really wanted to take part in the virtual event, which allows me to run from Australia.

Melbourne is still in lockdown, which means we can only go outside for two hours a day to exercise so I’m going to have to use the full 24 hours to get the 26.2 miles done. My plan is to do at least half the distance on the Sunday and then wake up very early the next day to get the final bit finished.

Why I’m supporting the BLF

I came to support the British Lung Foundation after a friend of mine, Terry, died of lung cancer last year. We came to be friends through our mutual love of Chelsea Football Club.

Terry was such a positive guy throughout his illness. He refused to let his cancer diagnosis stop him from doing what he’d always wanted to do, which was travel. When he was told he didn’t have long to live, Terry decided he wanted to see the world and in his late 50s set off to do just that. We got to know each other when he arrived in Melbourne to watch the Ashes.

I’d say to anyone thinking about doing a marathon – sign up for it. Start small and build your distances up. Be positive and don’t let things like your age hold you back!

You can help Dan reach his fundraising goal.

Thinking about signing up to run the London Marathon next year?

Covid-19 has had a huge impact on the BLF's finances. We need to make the London Marathon 2021 as big as possible - the more Team Breathe runners the better! Enter the ballot and choose British Lung Foundation. We need you!

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30 September 2020