Marathon for Mental Health
19th September 2020
The motivation behind the marathon
2020 marks my 30th anniversary as a primary school teacher. I only came down south to complete my teacher training in 1989 and I'm still here after all those years. 23 years of my career have been spent as a senior leader working directly with the most vulnerable children in our schools. Many things have changed for the better in education during my career but the rapid, exponential rise in children suffering from mental health conditions is the most alarming and worrying development over the last 10 years.
I decided to mark the 30 year anniversary by taking some proactive, positive action to raise awareness and much needed funding to support young people in their fight against mental health issues. 10% of young people under the age of 18 are diagnosed with a mental health condition each year. Just think about that ... its over 40 children in a 2-form entry primary school and up to 200 in a large secondary school. That's far too many families facing problems so it's time to change things.
Walking a marathon seemed like the ideal way to raise awareness. Walking is fully inclusive, it allows time for communication thus enhancing social connection. It also allows time to take in the beauty of the world around us ... to feel the fresh air, to listen to the birds, to enjoy the sight of trees, flowers and water. It allows time to think, to reflect and re-charge the batteries.
Bee-lieve Foundation aims to help everyone so an activity to involve everyone, whatever their age or fitness level was essential.
The 26 mile marathon will take place on the 19th September 2020. The route will start at Westminster Cathedral, London and will end at Holy Family Catholic Primary School in Addlestone, Surrey. The route will go via all the schools where I have spent my time working over the last 30 years. This means 5 stages:
Stage 1: Westminster Cathedral to St Mary's University Twickenham.
Stage 2: St Mary's University to St James' Catholic Primary, Twickenham.
Stage 3: St James' to Cardinal Newman Catholic Primary, Hersham.
Stage 4: Cardinal Newman to St George's College, Weybridge.
Stage 5: St George's to Holy Family Catholic Primary, Addlestone.
My team recently named 'The Fantastic Five' will walk the entire 26 miles route with me. However, we are inviting supporters to join us on any stage either for the whole stage or simply a short part of the stage ... the more people walking together ... the greater the celebration and the impact.
The Fantastic Five are:
- Liam Flanagan
- Paul Seuke
- Stephen Holt
- Mike Meredith
- Rob Deacock
The walk will depart Westminster Cathedral at 9.00am and we hope to arrive at Holy Family by 6.00pm.