This October, an incredible group of ten Bristol alumni and students are taking on the 2022 London Marathon in support of the University’s Healthy Minds programme.
This programme helps students who are experiencing mental health difficulties by providing them with a bespoke physical activity plan and access to sports facilities. Students are paired up with a mentor – a member of the University fitness team with advanced mental health training – who coaches them throughout their time on the programme.
Introducing this year’s runners…
Ken Khaw (LLB 1992), Alumni
I originally registered to run in the London Marathon in April 2020 before I reached my milestone of 50. Unfortunately, due to COVID the event was postponed and closed to the public. By chance I came across the Bristol alumni email to run for Healthy Minds at the London Marathon so 2.5 years later I will try again. At 51 the physical element of the full marathon will already be a challenge, but the race will also require mental strength which is what Healthy Minds is all about. By teaching students about the benefits of building exercise into their daily routine, the Healthy Minds program helps students grow their confidence and gain a sense of community.
Supporting the combination of education and mental health is appealing to me even more so now as I have loved ones who have suffered from various degrees of mental health difficulties. I am also passionate about recognising mental illness without prejudice or stigma as the number of people suffering from mental health issues continues to rise. I am honoured to have been chosen to run for this worthy cause and look forward to completing this challenge to support Healthy Minds. Your support for my run and this cause would be highly appreciated.
David Bowen-Davies (BSc 2016), Alumni
I have lived in Bristol ever since graduating and enjoy keeping fit, spending time outdoors, and finding the best coffee spots in town.
Through my company – Actualise Performance and Wellbeing – I provide physical, psychological, and nutritional training and coaching services to individuals and organisations. My main motivation to run the London Marathon this year is to raise money and awareness for the University’s Healthy Minds Programme. I struggled with my mental health and battled with an eating disorder during my time at the University and I want to help make sure current and future students have the support I would have benefitted from at the time. I’m also looking forward to the personal challenge of running my very first marathon!
Bethany Marris (BA 2020), Alumni
For me, running the London Marathon with Bristol for Healthy Minds has been a long time coming. Although I trained for the 2020 race, this was of course postponed due to Covid-19, and unfortunately, I was unable to make the new date due to a couple of health-related setbacks. As such, the prospect of completing the race in October is incredibly exciting.
Since graduating from Bristol in 2020, I have pursued a Master’s degree in London and have entered the world of full-time work in media — both of which have been a little stressful at times (understatement). I’ve always understood running as a form of therapy, both mental and physical. This is why I’m so keen to run for Bristol and support mental health at the University. The reflective, quiet space that running can offer is something that I’ve found invaluable throughout my life whenever I’ve felt my mental health slipping. It’s a real privilege to be able to bring awareness to the connection between sport and mental health in October this year.
Rob Reay-Jones (MA 2013), Alumni
I grew up in the southwest of France, where I became a keen middle-distance runner among the vineyards of Bordeaux. Around 15 years ago, I returned to the UK for work and studies before completing an MA in Translation at Bristol in 2013. Recently I set myself the challenge of training seriously again with a view to beating my teenage personal bests over the shorter distances and one day completing the Marathon du Médoc (to celebrate or drown my sorrows!). As part of my training, the wonderful and totally unexpected opportunity to run the London Marathon for such an amazing cause was too great to miss. I cannot wait to run in support of Healthy Minds and in memory of my father, who was my hero.