2 photos side by side of man wearing winston's wish running t-short and vest, first is a selfie and second he is holding up hands to show 9 fingers

Ryan’s 12 marathon challenge to support grieving children

Ryan is completing an incredibly impressive challenge for Winston’s Wish this year by running a whopping 12 marathons in 12 months. Not only that, he’s chosen to approach it in a uniquely clever way, to reflect some people’s experience of grief and to show the value of receiving support. We asked him to tell us more…

Tell us about your fundraising in aid of Winston’s Wish.

I am trying to complete 12 marathons in 12 months.  Each marathon is not official.  I am running it on my own, with no support.  When you struggle with things on your own, don’t share them or battle with them internally, it only makes it much harder to overcome.  I lost my dad when I was 15 and it has had a cost on my mental health – I have found that getting help and talking about it has helped, much like running marathons with people and support makes it much easier.  I hope the metaphor makes sense….

Why did you choose to support Winston’s Wish?

When I lost my dad there was very little support for me or for my family.  The cost of losing loved ones so early in life can cost the individual and the family unit dearly.  Help support and access to services is so important.  I think Winston’s Wish does incredible and important work.

How did you raise such an incredible amount?

I am told from those that have supported the charity through my challenges that the story and challenge are quite inspiring.  I have tried to be honest about why I am doing this and do something that tests my capacity.  Through my personal experience, i think when people hear the story, can see the need for charities that support young, bereaved children.

How have you stayed motivated?

Focus on process not the outcome and when it has been its hardest, think about those who have supported me, and those that the funds will support.  It makes it easy!

What has been the most and least enjoyable parts of the experience?

Most enjoyable – learning about myself, what I can achieve and the amazing conversations the challenge has generated.

Least enjoyable – feeling sick, cramps, not being able to walk and the creeping dread of running the next one!

Do you have any advice for anyone else thinking of taking on a run or challenge for Winston’s Wish?

Do it!  It’s so rewarding to know that you might be helping raise awareness of the charity and raise funds to help those who will benefit from it.

As someone who has worked in high performance sport for the nearly 20 years supporting athletes and coaches – I could give lots of advice but I will give just one thought/reflection – once you set your mind to the task and make it public, no matter how hard it is, you can do it!  Mind over matter.

Huge thanks to Ryan for sharing his experience this year with us and of course for all of his amazing dedication and applause worthy fundraising efforts too. If you’d like to donate to Ryan’s JustGiving page you can do so here.