Paul takes on 200 mile challenge to support local charity

Amy Owens

Written By Amy Owens

17th December 2020

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Christmas is not always a happy time of year for everyone, and that’s why throughout the month of December, our Operations Manager, Paul Reszcynski, has set a personal challenge to run 200 miles in aid of a local charity which supports people and families bereaved by suicide, or who are experience their own suicidal thoughts.  

What inspired you to run 200 miles during December?

It was as a result of my own personal experience really. I saw what my own family went through over the Christmas period when my sister-in-law was very ill with lung cancer, and passed away soon afterwards. Christmas is supposed to be a lovely, happy, family time but I was aware that it wasn’t like that for a lot of people I knew, myself included. I was fortunate to have people around me for support but not everyone has that luxury.

I learned about The Martin Gallier Project – a local charity based on the Wirral which works to prevent suicides, break down the stigma surrounding suicide and mental health, and support families in the North West – and was amazed at what they do. I’ve been to meet the team there and I wasn’t prepared to hear the figures they shared about the number of people reaching out to them, in need of support during lockdown. I thought, even if I can make one more person aware of the charity, what they do and can help someone in a difficult situation, then that will be really rewarding personally.

I wanted to do something that would be a huge challenge for me – both mentally and physically – and would spark conversation, get people talking and raise awareness.

What preparation did you do to run this distance?

I got into running for health reasons initially and now I have been doing it for nearly 10 years. I was in tears after my first 10k run and said I would never run again, but within a week I had booked my next 10k race. Since then it has become a passion of mine and something that I truly get satisfaction from. I have run half marathons, full marathons and taken part in events such as Tough Mudder. I am always amazed by what my body can achieve.

Physical stamina and strength through training is important but you also need to be mentally strong to help you keep you going when your legs are starting to feel the pain and your brain is focusing on the miles still left to run. I ran 100 miles in August, then ran 10k every day for 10 days, and then decided to set myself this challenge. Although, if you’ve have told me 10 years ago that I would be running 200 miles during December I would have laughed!

How do you manage to keep going whilst its dark, windy and rainy?

When I am sitting on the sofa, it’s raining outside and I know I am going to be soaked within minutes of leaving the house, I think about why I am running and what I want to achieve. People taking the time out to talk to me, send messages and share their own personal experiences has meant a lot and I think about them and their stories when I am running.

I wanted to run 200 miles during December when it’s dark, bleak, cold and windy to replicate the dark place that some people find themselves in, at whatever time of year. When I’m struggling to find motivation, like on a weekend when I’ve spent all day with the kids and then I have to get my gear on and lace up my trainers, it helps me dig a little deeper to remember why I am doing this challenge and who I am running for.

What hints and tips do you have for people wanting to pursue their own challenges?

Set yourself small, manageable, incremental goals. If you are not very physical then running a mile could be a huge thing for you, so be realistic in setting your goal. Don’t set yourself up to fail, if you can’t run a mile without stopping, that’s okay – just work on improving against your own performance. If you stopped three times, maybe the next time you run you can challenge yourself to only stop twice.

Ask questions and talk to people who have done it before. I did this in preparation for running a marathon as I wanted to talk about the mental aspect of running for hours on my own. You could consider joining a club or getting a running partner or simply enjoy running on your own. If anyone is thinking about their own challenge and wants to get in touch please do so as I am so passionate about running and would gladly support anyone.

How can people support your challenge?

The main reason for me doing this challenge is to raise awareness for The Martin Gallier Project as the team are doing a brilliant job being there for and supporting people who need them the most. I would love for people to start talking, get involved, share their stories, pass the message on about the support the charity offers and obviously, a donation would be really appreciated by me and the charity.

To donate, please click here to visit Paul’s JustGiving page.

To find out more about The Martin Gallier Project, click here.

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