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Man reaches halfway mark of year of daily marathons

2024-07-10 09:45:24


By Juliette Parkin, BBC News, East Grinstead
James said people don't have to run a marathon a day to "get the benefit of physical activity"
A man from West Sussex who pledged to run a marathon every day of the year to raise money for a mental health charity has reached the halfway mark.
James Cooper, from East Grinstead, set himself the challenge of running the 26.2 mile (42.1km) distance every day throughout 2024.
Mr Cooper, 36, said he was determined to keep going and was excited about the rest of the year ahead.
He said: "I'd say you don't have to run a marathon a day to get the benefits of physical activity - but for me it's an opportunity to find time for myself. It gives a sense of peace and wellbeing."
'Smiling every step'
James, who works as a personal trainer, is running to raise money for the charity Samaritans.
Distance running has helped him to cope with his own mental health issues, including a period of depression in 2014 and 2015 which he says "rocked me to my core."
He added: "It has given me optimism and mental resilience. The next few months will be pleasant before we re-enter winter.
"I'll do what I have to do to get over the finishing line, I'm smiling every step of the way!"
Once a month members of the local running community join him on part of his route, with up to 80 runners participating
James's fiancée Annabel Crisp said: "It has been a tough year in the sense of changing our whole routine but I couldn't be prouder of him.
"Seeing the whole community he has created while doing the challenge has been a fantastic whirlwind."
So far he has raised just over £30,000 of a £703,000 target - a pound for every life lost to suicide around the world each year, as recorded by the World Health Organization.
James started his marathon challenge in January by himself but has since built up a community of runners around him who want to support him and get fit themselves.
Once a month, other East Grinstead runners meet up on a Sunday to join him on part of his route, with up to 80 people participating.
Jim Dorrington, chairman of East Grinstead Runners, said: "To repeat a marathon day after day, I can't get my head around it!
"It is impressive the fact he keeps doing it and he is still getting so much enjoyment out of it."