John Anderton, 52, has set himself the challenge to run 25 miles on 19 September to raise funds in support of Surrey leading mental health and wellbeing charity, Mary Frances Trust, as well as to challenge mental health stigma and promote the importance of exercising to maintain wellbeing.
As a self-confessed “couch potato”, John has been training since February, despite a knee injury, to slowly build up the strength to take the challenge. He’ll be running 25 miles to mark the 25th anniversary of Mary Frances Trust, the mental health and emotional wellbeing charity he works for.
John Anderton, Senior Operations Manager, Mary Frances Trust says:
“25 miles is a mile for every year our amazing organisation has been supporting people with their mental health and emotional wellbeing, helping them regain self-esteem, bringing them the prospect of recovery, the confidence to rebuild their lives, and enabling them to access opportunities around work, education and leisure in the wider community.”
The run will take place early in the morning of Thursday 19th September to avoid potential heat exhaustion, over a pre-arranged 25-mile route, recorded on GPS, with people posted along the route to validate the completion of the challenge.
John explains that his run is more than about getting back into shape:
“It is also about raising awareness of mental health and overcoming stigma, including my own! I work every day for a mental health charity, yet I have never talked about my own experiences. Many years ago, I experienced quite severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which affected my life considerably.”
John confessed that when he started training, he had to straighten out some personal conflict in his mind:
“I want to raise awareness of mental health and challenge stigma but sharing the reasons behind my challenge publicly made me question how potential future employers might view me after disclosing the fact that a long time ago I went through a six-year period of being anything but my best. But it really drives home the fact that stigma is very real and destructive, and I am worrying about one of the very things this challenge is trying to highlight.
So I will use the time running, and this challenge, to bring out into the light the importance of opening up and how physical activity can improve your emotional wellbeing.
Through this journey, I hope to encourage as many people as possible who are experiencing mental health issues to try some type of exercise. Or encourage someone, who knows someone else living with emotional wellbeing issues, to support them to get out and be active. When you are unwell, it takes so much effort to get out and do things on your own, so supporting a person’s wellbeing by supporting them to be active could change their lives”.
Patrick Wolter, CEO, Mary Frances Trust, adds:
“With male depression and suicide rates on the rise, hearing from men in executive positions who are prepared to share their experiences of dealing with mental health issues is more important than ever. We’re so grateful to John for having the courage to open up about his past so he can inspire others, and for deciding to undertake a very ambitious challenge in support of our cause.”
To support John’s challenge, you can visit his fundraising page.
All money raised will enable the charity to provide more courses and activities to support a wider range of adults in Surrey with their mental health and emotional wellbeing.
The charity is celebrating its 25th anniversary in an event to be held at Denbies on 21st September, two days after John’s run. As part of its anniversary year, Mary Frances Trust, is running multiple events and activities in Surrey, including an Art Exhibition at the Leatherhead Theatre from 12th September until 25th September to showcase the link between creativity and wellbeing. (More information in 25th anniversary press release)
NOTES TO EDITORS
Mary Frances Trust is a leading local charity that supports adults living in Surrey to improve their mental health and emotional wellbeing through a variety of services, from one-to-one support, advice and information, crisis support, physical activities, wellbeing courses, interest groups, peer support groups and social activities.
The charity is also one of Community Connections Surrey’s Mental Health Lead Providers, working alongside Catalyst and Richmond Fellowship to offer seamless, first-class mental health support throughout Surrey.
Interview opportunities with John Anderton and Patrick Wolter available on request.
Communications Officer, Mary Frances Trust
Tel: 01372 375 400 – ext. 115
Mobile: 07365 265 751