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Runner Feature – Josh Lindl

In 2018, I’m running 10km (6.21 miles) every single day of the year. That's the equivalent of running in excess of the diameter of the Moon or from the UK to the Middle East. A total of 3650km (2269miles). WHY!?

Not because it's fun (it's really not!). But to raise some serious money for a very serious cause...

I am fundraising for Andy Mans Club (AMC), the mental health awareness and suicide prevention project set up in the name of Andrew Roberts, who tragically took his own life. AMC created the viral #itsoktotalk campaign with the goal to get people talking about mental health. Lives, full of potential, should not be cut short early - certainly not by a preventable cause. Yet, over six thousand people in the UK die every year due to suicide. But it's not just suicide, 1 in 4 Brits, will experience an episode of mental illness in any given year (there's 65 million of us!). Yet, only 1 in 4 of those with an issue get the support they need. According to the World Health Organisation, "'if we don't act urgently, by 2030 depression will be the leading illness globally!"

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The challenge was supposed to be very difficult in order for people to take notice and help spread the message, and it is. There are days, in fact the vast majority of days, I don’t want to run.

The following scenario is very much a typical day...

My legs are heavy from the lactic acid that has built up in them over the course of the year since Jan 1st. Dragging this pair of lead weights up out of bed and ascending the stairs to the train platform is a real effort. I have multiple niggles in my achilles, calves, groin and hip, all nipping at me all day, every day, reminding me with every step that I’ve got another run to do today, tomorrow and the day after - and just 150+ more after that. I have a busy, demanding job. I am tired during the day. Very tired due to completing the runs and this makes work tougher as my brain is a little slower than it might otherwise be.

I get home and eat quickly. I’ll then have an internal battle with myself as I try to force myself out of the door and equally find ways to delay getting out. I’ll think about how I could switch up the route in a desperate attempt to make running for the 200th time this year ‘fresh’ - it’s never fresh. Having won the battle to change into my running gear, I’ll now spend 15-20 minutes stretching and conditioning. This is essential to prevent injury. I’ll foam roll my muscles that shout back at me to ‘give us a bloody break, mate!’ When outside I’ll faff around thinking about what to listen to - my ears are tired of pretty much everything after 200 hours of listening. A few more stretches and I’ll set off on the run. My muscles and joints creak into motion until they eventually ease up and reluctantly accept ‘here we go again, guys!’. Dependent on how many aches and pains I have on a particular day I’ll now be judging what pace I should do. I can’t just go as fast as possible to get it done - tomorrow would be harder. So I’m left running slower than I can in order to protect my body. That’s not as easy as it sounds though, the brain, not focussed on a challenge of running fast, gets bored. The brain has done this same routine for the last 200 days and is bored of it. So, just like a bored, temperamental, moany child on a long bank holiday drive in a hot car, the repeated and constant messages of ‘are we there yet!?’ ‘Can we stop now!?’ ‘I’m sooooo bored’ ‘This is rubbish’ ‘Why don’t we do something different?’ reign down.

About 50 minutes of slogging later, I’ll get myself to the end, stick the run on Strava and usually put an instagram post up. After showering I’ll jump into bed (no time for an actual evening to relax). Only now a cruel twist sets in - my previously bored, tired brain is wide awake and absolutely buzzing. Someone has given it a load of drugs - endorphins (endo = internal and orphin = opiate/morphine), dopamine (motivation chemical) and serotonin (happy chemical). I tell my brain to calm down but calming someone down on a high isn’t the easiest job. Eventually I’ll drift off. I’ve set my alarm for 6am in order to get up and run to work the next morning (to avoid the runners high at bedtime).

Upon waking, absolutely everything is telling me to go back to sleep and not run this morning (hey, at least its not the dark winter and snowing anymore!). But I know I have a work event in the evening/I’m meeting friends so the run has to be done in the morning. 15 minutes of stretching and conditioning starts over again and I pack my 5kg+ bag on my back full of my laptop and work shoes, somehow trying to pack it so my shirt stays uncreased. Off I go again...telling myself, ‘only another 150+ to go!

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But it’s all absolutely worth it. The funds so many have kindly donated are going to a fantastic cause that will save lives and help people who are struggling. I have recently just passed the halfway mark, and have now completed my 200th run of 2018! I have now run over 2000km since January 1st. You can check out my progress on instagram @josh_running_10k_every_day

Please join me in supporting the fantastic work of Andys Man Club - after all, our brain is surely our most important organ to keep healthy! 

Thank you so much!

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If you would like to show support for Josh and his incredible challenge and help Andys Man Club (ADM) continue to make a difference you can donate to his Just giving page HERE.  

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