Grant's story: running a marathon helped me discover that exercise is the best anti-depressant

This content mentions suicide or suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety and personality disorders. Please read with care. There are details of where to find help at the bottom of this page.

Grant Blair turned his life around with a new found passion for running and has recently completed the ‘Virtual Edinburgh Marathon Challenge’.

Mental health has affected Grant, and his family all his life and he has felt that it has run through the generations. His grandmother was diagnosed with schizophrenia and his mother was diagnosed with bipolar and Grant himself has struggled with anxiety and depression for extended periods throughout his life.

Grant lived a very unhealthy lifestyle for 19 years. Weekends would be spent partying and regularly going days without sleep. But the party did end, and after years of abusing drugs and alcohol, Grant reached a point where he wanted to die. Thankfully he sought support and went to a faith-based rehabilitation centre for men in the Scottish Borders. He spent 17 months there and with support was able to deal with his problems and was able to turn his life round, for the better.

Grant's story: Events virtual marathon

It was around this time that he discovered his passion for running and credits running for dramatically improving his mental health and now believes that exercise is the best anti-depressant available to us all.

Grant had taken part in a few races but had never attempted a marathon, so was excited to sign up for the Edinburgh Marathon 2020 and was looking forward to the atmosphere and buzz on the day and was disappointed when the event had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grant was delighted to hear that the Edinburgh Marathon organisers were offering participants the opportunity to complete the distance and take part in the first-ever Virtual Edinburgh Marathon Festival. Not wanting to waste all the hard work and effort he had already put into his training, it was all systems go and he completed the 26.2-mile distance in 3 hours and 33 minutes!

“I enjoyed running it virtually, as I could complete the distance at a time that suited me and I liked the fact that people could do it in one go, or break it up. I also received a Finishers Pack, which includes a medal and T-shirt, which was a lovely touch and made me feel a real sense of achievement – I would highly recommend that other runners take part and support the work of the Mental Health Foundation – the more you challenge yourself, the better you become.” - Grant

If you are feeling like ending your life or feel unable to keep yourself safe, please call 999 or go to A&E and ask for the contact of the nearest crisis resolution team. These are teams of mental health care professionals who work with people in severe distress. If you feel affected by the content you have read, please see our get help page for support.

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A-Z Topic: Depression

A-Z Topic: Suicidal thoughts

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