Virtual Half Marathon: Stuart's story

Stuart Burgess found himself struggling mentally, following the break up of a long term relationship in 2019, but he decided to channel his energy into living a healthier lifestyle and has just completed the Virtual EMF Half Marathon to raise money and awareness for the Mental Health Foundation.

Stuart’s relationship ended unexpectedly and abruptly.  Although he and his girlfriend were unhappy and the relationship had run its course, the break up hit him hard – no relationship, no companionship, no routine, no contact…nothing.  He found himself in a bad way.

He began to overthink everything and analysing what happened and why - he was unable to find peace and was struggling to get through the day.  Having never experienced anything like this before, he didn’t know what to do with himself.

Thankfully, he reached out to friends, family and colleagues for support and also decided to seek professional help and began seeing a counsellor.  He continued to talk and lean on his support network for help and he found this was so helpful.

He also decided to start living a healthier life and began walking, eating healthier and cut out alcohol and look for ways to distract his mind from his ex-girlfriend.

Walking for 2 or 3 miles each evening made a huge difference to his mental health – especially with the help of some heavy tunes as company and as he became healthier, he found his mood improved and he had more energy.

Stuart did his first every Park Run in August 2019 and he was immediately hooked, even though he felt like a complete amateur.  He continued to do the Park Run every Saturday morning at 9am, until Covid-19 put a stop to the runs and has carried on running twice a week throughout the Covid pandemic and has really enjoyed it.

His biggest motivation is how good mentally he feels once he has completed a run – and the aches and pains are all worth it, especially as he is the fittest he has ever been.

He had planned to complete the 4 Wolf Runs in 2020 but unfortunately these were cancelled. Not wanting to let all his training go to waste, he signed up for the EMF Virtual Half Marathon.  He chose to support the Mental Health Foundation as he wanted to raise money for a charity focussed on mental health as he knew from his own experiences, how important good mental health is.

This will be the first time he has completed a half marathon and it is a huge achievement!  18 months ago, he would have laughed at the idea and would have never entertained going for a run, but look at him now!