Henry Holme, Conor Turner, Andrew Ross and Chris Balfour (all Elwyn’s 2005-2010) have set themselves the unenviable challenge of 6 marathons on 6 continents in 6 days next year. On Thursday evening this week two of them, Henry and Conor, returned to the House to give us some insights into their motivation, their planning and their hopes for this event.
10 years after leaving Elwyn’s it was heartening to hear how they felt their friendships, that were formed through living alongside one another as teenagers in a boarding environment, had become a factor in their mental wellbeing. They described how they had been a real support to one another through different life challenges, grappling with deeply difficult and personal incidents.
Being confronted with depression and, ultimately, the suicide of a family member had brought the issues of mental health, and those for men in particular, into sharp focus. Their drive to work for a tangible change for the benefit of men in the UK has given them such motivation in the massive undertaking that they described for us. Their aim is to raise £157,000 (£1 for every mile) in support of the young charity James’ Place which will be spent developing and opening a second mental health crisis support centre, this one to be located in East London.
They’ve already spent several months gaining corporate sponsorship to fund their challenge. They’ve been working hard to build a social media following (please do follow them on Instagram @theworldrun2020). They have been setting up links with running clubs in Sydney, Dubai, Cairo, Rio de Janeiro, and New York who will, they hope, give them support in their first five marathons before they finish with the 2020 London Marathon. The sheer scale of the detail in the planning is daunting in itself - the logistics of flights and journeying, sleeping, eating, showering, warming up, cooling down, recovery and so much more that you might do for one marathon, let alone 6 in a row.
It was heart-warming to see our current L6th asking questions long after the presentation but even more so to see the men that these Felstedians had become, determined to make a difference and working so hard to do so.
As a house we are aiming to support them this year, to follow their progress and, we hope, to welcome them back and hear of their success. We wish them all the very best indeed - any donations, however small, towards this great challenge can be made through their website The World Run 2020.