Five marathons in five days for mental health

Ian Puttock from the IT Team at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is running five marathons in five days in a bid to highlight mental health issues and raise money for their charity, Heads On.

Ian, 48, from Angmering, lost his wife unexpectedly 10 years ago and was left with their four young children to look after. His new partner, Alison, suggested he started running which he did and found this really helped with his own personal mental health.

In 2009 he ran his first 10km race, which was a new challenge for him and Ian remembers how daunting this was at the time. He said: “The atmosphere of the first race I ran is what motivated me to do more. The feeling that I was challenging myself and there was always a new goal that could be reached, whether it was a quicker time or a longer distance.

“This year the opportunity to run five marathons in five days came up and I couldn’t resist. I’m running five in five just to see if I can! I think the biggest challenge will be recovery between each race, but I’m looking forward to seeing what I’m capable of.”

Ian’s five days of marathons, which are organised by Sussex Trail Events, begin on Monday 25 June. He will be running:

  • Day 1 – Worthing Promenade
  • Day 2 – Sea Lane Cafe, Marine Crescent, Worthing
  • Day 3 – Highdown Hill
  • Day 4 – Findon Cricket Club, Long Furlong
  • Day 5 – Widewater, Shoreham Beach

Training has involved a seven mile scenic route to and from work as often as possible, culminating in a full marathon at the end of May.

Ian is no stranger to marathons, having completed nine in the past, including one Ultra Marathon of 38 miles, but he has never run marathons on consecutive days. His personal best is 3 hours and 50 minutes, though he plans to pace himself for the five marathon challenge and hopes to complete each race in around five hours.

His running has also inspired his children, Alyssa, 10, Joshua, 16 and Samantha, 18 and the three of them regularly run with him, including the 5k Parkrun held every Saturday on Worthing seafront. Abigail, 21 has yet to get the running bug but Ian is still optimistic about changing that!

Ian recently celebrated 30 years’ service with the NHS and currently works for Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which is based in Worthing and provides mental health and specialist learning disability services across south east England. He is using his marathons to raise money for Heads On, Sussex Partnership’s charity which supports people experiencing mental health difficulties.

“This is an opportunity for me to help local people who may be struggling with their mental health and wellbeing,” says Ian. “It saddens me to see people, including close family members, struggling with life. There is always a future.”

If you would like to support Ian’s fundraising, please visit his JustGiving page www.justgiving.com/ian-5in5

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