For Men To Talk and the Virtual London Marathon 2022

One of the most important things of being fit, is that it relieves stress and eliminates depression. It’s something that is discussed frequently in our ‘For Men To Talk’ meetings, both virtually and physically.

With that in mind, I’ve been looking for an opportunity for the men in our group to work towards something. I can see the enjoyment and benefits of the attendees at our monthly ‘For Men To Talk… and Walk’ meetings, but I needed something for them to exercise regularly, up to a big event.

In 2013, I ran the London Marathon in aid of Ovacome, an Ovarian Cancer Support Charity. I lost my beautiful Mum who we lost nearly 17 years ago. I was able to raise £6000 thanks to some very kind donations. Even though it was tough and it hurt (a lot), I loved every single second of it, for my body and my mental health, and I would have certainly carried on running but for a knee injury.

In January 2008, seven years early, I had an operation on that same knee. Throughout my football career, playing a lot on Saturdays and Sundays for 15-20 years, I caused myself to have an inward facing patella (kneecap), which is referred to as a ‘winking patella’. It gave me knee pain, stiffness, progressive aching and grating pain and on some occasions, my knee didn’t lock or catch.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the London Marathon has moved to October and also introduced a virtual event for those who don’t get a place through the ballot or charity place. This means that there is an opportunity to complete the 26 miles and 385 yards (42.195 kilometres) distance from home. You can do it with friends or on your own, in stages or all at once, just as long as the distance is completed at any time from 00:00 to 23:59:59 on Sunday 2 October 2022, the same day as the mass event in London.

That’s 24 hours, we could walk that! After putting the idea to the attendees of ‘For Men To Talk’, some have signed up to do it! A 12-week plan, leading to the big walk! It’s the incentive many of us need to get fit and improve our mental health. It will improve self-perception and self-esteem, mood and sleep quality, and it reduce stress, anxiety and fatigue.

At the same time, we will raise money which will go towards helping more men at ‘For Men To Talk’.