On Sunday 4th October, Head of Domestic Scouting for AFC Bournemouth and Dorset Mind Ambassador Andy Howe completed 26.2 miles of his virtual London Marathon in 5 hours and 41 minutes.
What made this achievement even more remarkable was not only that Andy had been struggling all year with an injury, picked up during his training, but that day he also faced the mighty wrath of Storm Alex.
The running conditions quickly became atrocious an hour into the run. Andy had to battle the loneliness of the exposed route back to Bournemouth from Burley. At one point he was running into icy cold sheets of torrential rain. And that was when he really had to dig deep.
Andy comments, “My journey tested me from day one and completely took me out of my comfort zone. I began training back in August 2019 and fully expected to compete the marathon on 26th April, but that was obviously postponed because of the pandemic. That turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as it meant I had extra time to recover from an injury I’d picked up on my right knee.
What I didn’t expect to face was the variety of emotions – from extreme highs to some deep lows. The training was hard, really hard, but when I became injured my mood also dipped. Running is essential for my mindset and I found it tough when I couldn’t run.
But I’m pleased to say my overriding emotion is one of elation and pride. I’m so pleased I had this opportunity to raise mental health awareness, especially during the global pandemic and extreme weather conditions. It makes this even more special to me. I was also able to raise over £5,200 for Dorset Mind and I’m now focusing on my next challenge!”
A marathon achievement
Marianne Storey, CEO of Dorset Mind said, “We’re extremely proud of what Andy has achieved this past year – he has truly earned his marathon medal! He conquered injury, the solitary route and the relentless weather conditions, which is a true testament to his determined, resilient character. We hope his journey will inspire young people his age to get active, which we know benefits mental wellbeing.
The donations that Andy has raised have also come at a vital time for us. We’ve seen demand for our 1-2-1 and group support increase dramatically during lockdown, whilst, like other charities, we’ve experienced financial uncertainty. We simply can’t do what we do without the fundraising efforts of people in our communities. Importantly, Andy’s donations will help us support local with their mental health – and never has that been more important. Especially now as we’re all facing the most difficult challenges to our mental health.”
Dr Andy Mayers, Dorset Mind Patron and Principal Academic at Bournemouth University adds, “Andy Howe has been supporting us at Dorset Mind for quite some time now, but this has to be the most impressive contribution yet. Running a marathon is a big challenge for anyone, but Andy did this alone without crowds lining the streets to spur him on. His motivation and commitment are truly appreciated. The funds raised will go a very long way to help us provide mental health support across Dorset when it is most needed.”
Dorset Mind has released a documentary entitled ‘My Marathon Journey’ to celebrate Andy’s monumental effort. Filmed by John E Fry of Fry Film Production and edited by Steve Connor of Symphony Digital Media, you can watch it on the Dorset Mind YouTube channel.