Running enthusiast Peter Thompson completed the Virgin Money London Marathon to pass the halfway point in his immense personal challenge to run an incredible 44 marathons in 44 days – a marathon within every country in Europe. Peter’s challenge ‘Marathons for the Mind’ aims to raise awareness and funds for mental health, supporting the charities Livability, who run the Dorset-based wellbeing discovery centre Livability Holton Lee, and MIND.
In a route combining travel by trains, planes, buses, taxis, cars and ferries, the Bournemouth-based runner has now successfully completed 24 marathons, following runs in Lisbon and Barcelona after his appearance on home soil.
“Once I’d come up with the idea of running across Europe I had to work out if it was actually possible! I used the Official United Nations Statistics to determine how many independent countries were actually in Europe, as there seems to be many differing opinions,” Thompson explained of his ambitious challenge.
“I will not bore you with the logistical nightmare involved in moving from one country to the next during this sort of challenge, there are many variables that I can’t control which have the potential to create problems along the way but, for me, overcoming these just adds to the challenge. If it were easy I would be trying to come up with some other equally inventive way to get me out of work for two months!”
On his endeavours in raising awareness for mental health charities, Peter added: “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.”
You can make a donation to Peter's challenge by visiting his Virgin Money Giving page.