Running 100 miles in a day - a mental and physical challenge
October 09 2021
Charlie Waller supporter Jeremy Ellis reflects on how running helps his own mental wellbeing as he prepares to take part in the Autumn 100.
When I set myself the challenge of taking part in the Autumn 100 - which involves running 100 miles in one go - I knew it would not be easy. Since starting my training in March, I have spent many solitary hours training, learning a lot about myself as I’ve pushed myself to my physical and mental limits.
Running and self-care
When my dad was ill about ten years ago, I started running again and since then it has become an increasingly important way for me to process things, to find balance and space. Over the last five years there have been many times when I’ve relied on running for my own wellbeing and I’d really like people who are struggling to see it as a potential way of feeling better.
I heard someone say on a YouTube video the other day: ‘Has anyone ever regretted going for a run?’ To me, there’s a lot of sense in that. Those times you really struggle to get up and out and then you get back feeling so much better. But I fear with 100 miles I might be testing that theory!
It’s been shown that there are links between physical exercise and good mental health. When I think about my own wellbeing in the past, the times I’ve struggled have always coincided with times when I haven’t been training or planning an adventure.
In the world we live in today I think it is so hard to talk about how you really are. In lots of different moments, I have found that conversation hard. But whilst training for this challenge, I’ve been asked ‘how are you’ a lot and it’s reminded how good it is to talk.
Young people’s mental health
Obviously one of my biggest motivations in taking on the Autumn 100 is to raise funds and awareness to support young people’s mental health, which is something the Charlie Waller Trust does fantastically well.
I’ve thought a lot about how hard this pandemic has made it for young people just to live a ‘normal’ life and I think exercise is such a great way to relieve stress and tension.
If my run can help encourage any young people to get running – or do whatever sport or exercise is their thing – I will have achieved something.
Preparing for the challenge
In many ways, the challenge is not about 100 miles on 16 October 2021. It’s more about getting to the start line ready, willing and able. It’s impossible to predict what will happen on the day. Over 100 miles, there's too many things that can go wrong. You can't control them all.
I do have strategies to help me on the day. Firstly, I plan to run as far as I can whilst conserving energy and avoid working too hard. Secondly, I’ve got a special playlist ready for the long, lonely miles in the dark and thirdly, I’m preparing for the last half of the race to be mind over matter. That might be easier said than done.
Fear and hope
I’m never going to be a competitive runner but in the last four years or so, I’ve been trying out longer runs. In June 2019 I did 100km in two days. In 2020, I ran 50 miles in a day. And now the question is whether 100 miles – or 200,000 steps - is possible for me.
The big question I ask myself is: can I do it? It’s genuinely further than I can imagine ever running, even now after months and many miles of training. So, the honest answer is, I don’t know. Whatever happens, I am going to give the Autumn 100 everything I have got – both physically and mentally.
If you would like to sponsor Jeremy please visit his Just Giving page.
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