Meet our #TeamUoB London Marathon Runners

Five Bristol alumni, staff and students are going the extra mile and running the 2020 London Marathon in support of Healthy Minds, a physical activity programme at the University which utilises the benefits of exercise to support students affected by mental ill health .

Congratulations and thank you to our 2020 London Marathon team! We wish them the very best of luck with their training and look forward to cheering them along on the 26 April.

See how #TeamUoB are getting on with their fundraising here

Meet the team

Dr Bex Lyons, Staff
‘I’m Bex,  a Teaching Associate in English and Personal Development in the Department of English , where I was named a Best of Bristol Lecturer 2019.
I completed my PhD at Bristol in 2017, which investigated women readers of Arthurian literature in fifteenth – and sixteenth – century England. In 2015 I ran the York Marathon, and I am so excited to be taking on my next marathon in my hometown – the London Marathon route goes through the neighbourhood that I grew up in! This challenge is also particularly meaningful for me because my role at the University. It is deeply involved with student development, and I am enthusiastic to support Healthy Minds and their important work at Bristol.



Robert Reay-Jones, Alumni

‘I’m Rob, I’m 39 and I work as a translator. After growing up in southwest France, where I became a keen middle-distance runner among the vineyards of Bordeaux, I returned to the UK after around 15 years ago for work and studies before completing an MA in Translation at Bristol in 2013. I’m now married with three children and live in Wiltshire. I recently set myself a challenge of training seriously again with a view to beating my teenage PBs over the shorter distances and one day completing the Marathon du Médoc (to celebrate or drown my sorrows!) Along the way, the (wonderful and totally unexpected) opportunity to run the London Marathon for such a great cause was too great to miss. Having had personal experience of the impact of mental illness, I cannot wait to run in support of Healthy Minds and in memory of my father, who was my hero.’



Lucy Delamere, Student
‘I am a final year Law Student at  Bristol, and a student Activator for Sport, Exercise and Health in which I get involved in promoting B:Active programmes and encourage participants to use physical exercise for all the physical and particularly mental health benefits that exercise brings! Being a final year student with graduation so imminent, I turn to exercise and in particular running for those times in which there is immense pressure, as physical activity has been proven to boost the mood and reduce feelings of anxiety, stress and depression. I am excited to be taking my love for exercise to the next level by running the London Marathon for Healthy Minds. I look forward to the challenge of training for such an event, and also raising awareness and money for Healthy Minds’ incredible work in using exercise to improve well-being and particularity mental health.’


Ken Khaw, Alumni

‘I’m Ken, based in Singapore and a husband to a wonderful wife and a father of three young girls. I graduated from the University of Bristol with a LLB (Hons) in 1992 and am a career banker by profession. I was never very active in sports, but have tried to be since entering my 40s. I have done three half marathons in Singapore, however my running has been inconsistent.  By chance I came across the Bristol alumni email to run for Healthy Minds at the London Marathon. I strongly believe in the empowerment of education. By teaching students about how building exercise into their daily routine can grow their confidence, identity and community, it encourages them to make a positive, long-lasting lifestyle.
I am honoured to have been chosen to run for this worthy cause and by the Grace of God I trust I will complete this challenge to support Healthy Minds.’

Bethany Marris, Student

‘I’m Bethany, a final year history student originally from East Yorkshire. Alongside being an avid runner, I fill my free time with listening to, reading about and reviewing music! My motivation to run the marathon for Healthy Minds came from the way in which I’ve seen first-hand the monumental impact that sport and exercise can have on your mental health. Moreover, as a student, It’s easy to solely concentrate on uni, therefore having a challenge like running the London Marathon is an amazing opportunity towards a non-academic, physical challenge.’

Bristol alumnae rowers set their sights on world-record win

(L-R) Hannah, Georgie and Flo will attempt the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge in December 2020

A trio of rowers are attempting to break not one but two world records next year, by taking on the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge – a 3,000-mile race which will see them row from the Canary Islands to Antigua.

Made up of Georgie, Flo and Hannah, team Atlantic Antics are hoping to make history by becoming the fastest and youngest female rowers to ever complete the race.

Two-thirds of the trio, Georgie and Flo, began their rowing journey at the University of Bristol. Flo attended a rowing taster session in Fresher’s week and fell in love with the sport immediately, going on to join the University of Bristol Boat Club. Hannah was also a member of UBBC and even went on to captain the women’s team. After university they joined up with Georgie, a former Lincoln University rower, and the Atlantic Antics team was born.

The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge takes place annually and is considered to be one of the toughest rowing events in the world. Individuals and teams battle 20ft waves and treacherous weather conditions, rowing for two hours and then sleeping for two hours in 24-hour cycles, to reach the ultimate goal: crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

The rowers are aiming to smash the current record of 60 days by a full 10 days and will be following a gruelling training plan throughout the year in preparation.

“6am training sessions and gruelling training camps put us through our paces and pushed us beyond our limits. Sport has given us the confidence to always try.”
– Atlantic Antics

The team hope that that by taking part in the race they will inspire other women. They will be raising funds for Women in Sport, a charity which aims to give women and girls in the UK the chance to experience the wide-ranging benefits that sport has to offer.

Throughout their epic challenge, the trio will also be supporting Rowing Together for Healthy Minds – a charity which is dedicated to changing attitudes around mental health in the rowing community.

To wish the Atlantic Antics good luck or to follow their training journey head to:

Fantastic painting donated to Theatre Collection

An incredible piece by acclaimed artist, Walter Sickert, is now on display at the world-famous Theatre Collection in Park Row. It will become one of the first works of art to be shown at the new University Library when it opens in 2023 -24.

The stunning oil painting is one of a series Sickert created depicting Peggy Ashcroft, who is considered to be one of the 20th century’s greatest actresses.

Sickert himself worked as an actor during the late 1870’s and early 1880’s and his love of the theatre saw him go on to paint several theatrical stars during his lifetime. Here, he captures Ashcroft playing the mischievous Kate Hardcastle in Oliver Goldsmith’s comedy, She Stoops to Conquer – a play which ran during the 1932-33 season at the London Old Vic theatre.

In order to capture the leading lady’s likeness, Sickert would attend performances of the play with a photographer in tow, documenting Ashcroft’s poses and characteristics which he later recreated through his artwork. Jo Elsworth, Director of the Theatre Collection said:

We are delighted to receive this gift of such a significant artwork; it is particularly relevant to hold it alongside the archives Old Vic, where the performance depicted took place and where Dame Peggy Ashcroft spent her formative years.

The painting is from the collection of Lord and Lady Attenborough and was acquired by the University of Bristol’s Theatre Collection via the Arts Council England Acceptance in Lieu Scheme. This scheme places pre-eminent culture in museums, archives and galleries, opening them up to the public and allowing them to be enjoyed by art enthusiasts up and down the country.

The University of Bristol’s Theatre Collection is free to visit and can be found at 21 Park Row, Bristol. In 2009 it was awarded full Accredited Museum status by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. For more information head to:

Bristol is powered by people like you

Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Hugh Brady and Director of Development and Alumni Relations, Stephen O’Connor, reflect on your remarkable generosity over the last year

As University of Bristol alumni, you are the power behind some of the most extraordinary people at Bristol and their achievements. Without the invaluable expertise, advice and involvement of our alumni, the incredible personal stories that you can read about in our Impact Report 2019 would not be possible. On their behalf, and from me personally, thank you.

During a time of great change, our students, academics, researchers and alumni are making the world fairer, safer and more prosperous. In this report you can read how Bristol’s people are designing new technologies to support the health of older people, overcoming challenges to build a future through education and creating stronger international communities fit for today’s connected world.

It is people like them, with you, that together make our University what it is today and will be tomorrow. Thanks to your support, people here at Bristol can reach further towards their potential, whether that is pursuing answers to some of the world’s grand challenges or taking up educational opportunities that previously seemed out of reach.

I am determined that Bristol continues to lead through ground-breaking research and a first-class education that reflects and changes the world around us. We aspire to be more connected, more relevant and more impactful than ever before. As we reimagine and redevelop the University for the 21st century, the support of the worldwide Bristol community of alumni, supporters and friends has rarely been so important.

It has been a pleasure to have met many of you over the course of the last year, whether here in Bristol or in London, Beijing, San Francisco or the many other places that Bristol’s people call home. We have a truly global perspective, an outlook that is enriched by every member of the Bristol community.

Thank you once again for all you have done, on behalf of the people featured in the report, from me personally and from everyone at the University of Bristol, your University. I hope you enjoy reading about the difference you have helped create.

Professor Hugh Brady
Vice-Chancellor and President

Your generous philanthropic support, gifts of time through volunteering and invaluable advice are helping to power our researchers, our academy, our students and the enduring impact we have in improving the lives of local communities in the city, nationally and worldwide.

I am very fortunate to meet many of those whose lives and work have been transformed by the amazing support of our alumni and friends, a selection of whom are featured in this report. What strikes me most is the talent, enthusiasm and sheer dedication of our research investigators and students alike, whether they are seeking new knowledge to ultimately tackle the crisis of antimicrobial resistance or studying at Bristol thanks to securing a scholarship. They remind me that Bristol’s people, with your help, are building for the future.

Through an innovative use of new technology, Dr Róisín McNaney has helped people with Parkinson’s Disease to combat feelings of social isolation. Simi Modupe has overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges and is now studying Economics at Bristol. And Grace Kendrick’s approach to nurturing good mental health and wellbeing saw her graduate with an MA in Law and ready to start her career.

It is vital that we continue to build a community which fosters diversity, cultivates talent and enables more people to thrive and flourish. Excellence is central to research, teaching and the student experience at Bristol.

The University is investing significantly, along with your philanthropic support, in further growing our capability and enhancing our standing in an increasingly competitive worldwide Higher Education sector. Across the University, we are investing in new buildings and facilities, including the new University Library and developing our curriculum and programmes to ensure the academy and our students can realise their shared ambitions and full potential.

I hope that you will feel inspired by the personal stories in our latest Impact Report, and renewed in your confidence to continue your support and build together for the future.

Thank you once again for your tremendous support this year; we cannot do it without you.

Stephen O’Connor
Director of Development and Alumni Relations

Climate emergency – what now? with Sir David Attenborough

Sir David Attenborough, Broadcaster and Naturalist, Honorary Alumnus and winner of the 2019 Bristol Alumni Award for Lifetime Achievement discusses the scale of our climate emergency.

The fact is that the world is under greater pressure than it has ever been, and it’s not just in my lifetime but since human beings existed. This is the first time ever in the history of homo sapiens that we have the power, wittingly or unwittingly, to actually transform the world. Or to destroy it. Or to protect it. It’s very very important and our children and our grandchildren will either be thanking us or blaming us. 

The problem is huge. I mean this is a problem that has never been faced by human beings before, ever. Because the world is one. And everybody – everybody in the world – has now got to get together and sort things out. The history of humanity is of disaster, is of arguing and quarrelling, of wars, of going and conquering other people and clinging on to the land. That’s got to come to an end. And we’ve all got to do something, because we’ve got a common disaster. If I had to give one piece of advice to people today it would be to get engaged. Come together and do something about it.

Bristol should be proud of the contribution it’s making towards getting the message out there about what’s happening to our planet, about the situation our natural world is facing as a consequence of what we’re doing to it.

I think there is time to do something about what’s occurring, but that can only happen if people understand that the world is in danger. If we have an obligation to our children, our grandchildren and further generations then it is time we took that seriously. If the films that the BBC Natural History Unit have made – with the help of the University of Bristol – are getting the message out there, then we can be proud of that.

Climate emergency – what now? with Jack Farmer

Jack Farmer, University of Bristol Alumnus (BSc 2015), Co-Founder and Operations Lead at LettUs Grow and expert in environment agriculture tells us about how his company is tackling some of the greatest global challenges.

I co-founded LettUs Grow in 2015 with fellow alumni Ben Crowther and Charlie Guy, aiming to help tackle some of the greatest challenges facing the world today: carbon emissions, environmental pollution, and food security.

With the current population growth, we will need to feed nearly 10 billion people by 2050.1 To do so it’s estimated that we must increase food production by 70 per cent, with the added challenges of having 25 per cent less farmland, degraded soils and an ever more unstable climate. Our existing methods of agriculture are not suitable for this new paradigm. This is before we even consider the food wasted in supply chains each year – 90,000 tonnes in the UK alone. With LettUs Grow we believe that by empowering anyone to grow food within controlled environments, we can tackle some of these issues head-on. We take a collaborative approach and have built a team comprising plant scientists, engineers, developers, creatives, and business experts.

We believe we are part of the solution and are working with other local businesses to address the issues that face us all as part of this climate emergency.

We design modular, ‘aeroponic’ products that improve the efficiency, sustainability and ROI of both indoor and greenhouse agriculture. This involves generating a mist around plant roots, which grow much faster and healthier as a result. Facility costs are driven down and farmers can achieve an average of 70 per cent increase in growth across a range of crops, when compared to conventional hydroponic technology. Our systems use very little water and as we operate in controlled environments there is no need for the use of pesticides. Crucially, this soil-free growing takes the pressure of growing delicate crops off the land and improves global access to nutrition – even in areas with very high or low temperatures. At LettUs Grow we’ve used our combined plant science and engineering expertise to mature this aeroponics technology and make it much easier to use.

Over the next few years, we’re excited to explore new crop varieties and expand our global impact. We want to enable new business models for local growers and play a key part in creating a non-wasteful food supply chain by supporting alternative, resilient food production. To drive consumer behaviour change we need a multi-pronged approach and LettUs Grow is proud to be part of that change.

1. Springman et al (2018). Options for keeping the food system within environmental limits. Nature 562, 519–525.

Exploring the civic university

Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus
How the University’s new Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus will be working with local communities in the surrounding area.

The University of Bristol is one of six civic universities created in Britain at the turn of the twentieth century. As our Chancellor Sir Paul Nurse noted in his installation ceremony, ‘civic universities draw their origins and their strengths from being embedded in their local communities’. As work continues apace on our new Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus near Temple Meads train station, we look at how the University is already engaging with local communities in Bristol and how plans are afoot for this integration to be a key part of the new campus. The campus is being built close to complex communities in east and south Bristol, some of which experience multiple deprivation. It will be near to Barton Hill, an area where 77 languages are spoken and home to the Barton Hill Settlement, a community centre originally established by the University back in 1911.

In late 2019, the Barton Hill Settlement will be building a micro-settlement, made out of shipping containers, which will include office space and small residential units. The University will be renting a space to create a ‘micro-campus’, a place for teaching, research and outreach and where we can build new projects in collaboration with other partners based at the Settlement and in the surrounding areas. It will be an opportunity to pilot some of our activities for the new campus.

Pilot projects in the area, funded by a newly established Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus Public Engagement Fund, kicked off in summer 2019. These include a partnership with the Nilaari Agency working on mental health services in ethnic minority communities, a digital engineering project for schoolchildren and a business planning workshop delivered by SETsquared Bristol.

‘Partnering with the University of Bristol has meant we’ve been able to use our community engagement experience and local expertise to complement the discipline of academic research. This would usually be beyond our means as a small third sector street agency.’ – Nilaari Agency

Bristol’s new campus will be an inclusive place of research, education and collaboration, bringing together expertise and experience from a wide range of sectors and parts of society. It will offer a model for similar city-university collaborations worldwide. The public realm of the new campus will have welcoming and inclusive civic spaces with programmes to serve the local community, including a programme of activities in the evenings and weekends called Twilight Temple Quarter.

Not only are we designing digital and physical infrastructure across the campus with inclusivity in mind, we are developing an innovative and flexible undergraduate programme specifically aimed at local students without conventional qualifications and new initiatives to recruit a broader range of staff to the University. The spaces on the campus will include the Bristol Rooms, a ground floor space offering hotdesking to civic partners, social enterprises and community groups to work with us on research questions, student internships and big civic challenges.

‘So much information was covered so comprehensively but clearly. I felt like this session was really helpful and a very efficient use of my time.’ – Participant in SETsquared Bristol’s Jump Start your Business Plan

We are creating a socially responsible and sustainable campus that ensures a wide range of individuals and communities have opportunities to participate in, and shape, research, education and wider university life.

The Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus Public Engagement Fund has been generously kickstarted by The Lennox Hannay Charitable Trust. Any alumni and friends who are interested in supporting Civic Engagement projects are welcome to get in touch. These are projects where even small donations can have a real and identifiable impact. To get involved and for the latest news visit:
E: T: +44 (0) 117 394 1046


It’s national Volunteers’ Week – thank you to our Bristol Volunteers

A message from Professor Hugh Brady, Vice-Chancellor

Volunteers’ Week is a national celebration of the fantastic contribution volunteers make across the UK. This week we have been celebrating our Bristol Volunteers, who have given their time and expertise this last academic year, as mentors, advisors, speakers, organisers, and much more. Watch the video to hear your personal thanks from Professor Hugh Brady, President and Vice-Chancellor.

Bristol Volunteers support Bristol and uphold its values all over the world, by enhancing students’ experience and employability, helping students make decisions about study and careers and leading our networks. We are very grateful for the outstanding contribution of all our volunteers: your advice, experience and support have an enormous impact on our students, the alumni community and the University. 

Below, read about three individual volunteer experiences. If you are keen on becoming part of the Bristol Volunteer community, find out more about opportunities to get involved on our dedicated volunteering opportunities page.

Why I am a Bristol Volunteer?

“I volunteer as a mentor for undergraduates interested in working in the voluntary sector. I have worked with several intelligent, enthusiastic and passionate young people to date, some of whom have gone on to become interns that have delivered some outstanding pieces of work for the British Red Cross. A small amount of your time can provide some valuable insights for those just getting started – a really rewarding opportunity.”
Helen Sipthorp (BSc 2008)


“I thought volunteering was about giving back, spending time and listening and helping… But it’s so much more. I think I learn more than the students. I think I’m back in my learning zone. I’m being tested, questioned, put under pressure. The students I meet conduct a panel interview on me. They come to my office. They ask penetrating questions. They don’t accept waffle and excuses. They’re good. They’re strong. This is not for the faint- hearted. The future is bright. And it’s coming from Bristol.”
Paul Moran (MSc 2012) 


“I have been organising or coordinating an annual reunion of alumni living in Eastern Canada for about 15 years. I enjoy doing this because it has brought me a wonderful group of friends, who have become close because of our shared beginnings. Having those formative years of our lives in common at Bristol gives us endless conversation topics, and several of the group have been back to Bristol and share their visits with us. We are all very grateful for the start in life that Bristol gave us.”
Heather Proctor (BSc 1964)


Are you volunteering for Bristol? There is still time to enter our Thank You Draw. Tell us in 50 – 70 words, “Why I am a Bristol Volunteer”, attach a photo of your time here, and we will enter you for your chance to win an exclusive Bristol Bundle. Submit your entries to 

Arts Careers Week a soaring success thanks to our alumni

Humanities, Modern Languages and School of Arts students were wowed with the passion, knowledge and expertise of the alumni volunteers who came back to Bristol to talk all things careers during this year’s ‘Arts Careers Week’. Run by the Faculty of Arts and Careers Service, this year saw a week of talks and panel events geared up to get students thinking about the kinds of jobs they could go into upon graduating.

For the first time, this December we also hosted a careers networking evening which proved to be a real hit with our students. Feedback received was hugely positive from the event, which allowed students to talk to alumni from a whole host of different areas from TV to Law about how they found their career calling over drinks and nibbles. 

Now in its third year, this year we saw our highest ever attendance figures, which is a real testament to the quality of the talks that our alumni give. Panel sessions were held on careers in law, banking and finance, charity and the not for profit sector, working in higher education, media and journalism, publishing, advertising, event management, languages careers and working in the film and TV industry, to name but a few!

Mu Ali with English student Josh Peleg

Special thanks go out to the following alumni, who gave up their time and travelled from far and wide to be there to give something back:

  • Mu Ali (Classics, studied a little while ago, in his words!) who works as Chief Growth Officer for media agency Wavemaker UK has attended Arts Careers Week for the second time running, where his talks on working in advertising shed light on the pros and cons of the sector, as well as his top tips for success, including bringing all of yourself to work. Mu has also assisted English student, Josh Peleg, to find an internship opportunity in advertising.
  • Charlotte DC (BA Philosophy 2013) works as the Event Manager for MOMA festivals and told us about the ‘glamorous 1%’ of what still sounds like a very cool job!
  • Lucinda Elliott (BA Spanish & Portuguese 2012) was kind enough to fly from Brazil where she is now a journalist covering South America, to remind students of the benefits of doing a languages degree, and the amazing possibilities this opens to them upon graduation.
  • Rosanna Quigley (BA French & Portuguese 2015) works as a Conference and Event Manager and gave a down to earth recollection of what it’s like to enter a competitive job market for the first time, but how beneficial her experiences on her year abroad in France were to her current career.
  • Katie Foxall (BA English Literature 1997works in Publishing for e Cancer, a site that provides free oncology information and education worldwide and talked to students about the various paths available in the publishing industry, as well as the importance of gaining all-important work experience whilst studying.
  • Rosalind Neely (BA French and German 1984), Freelance Editor, Proof Reader and Project Manager for Illustrated Art Books provided an insight into the varied and rewarding career of an experienced publisher.
  • Francesca Wilson (BA History of Art 2011), Arts Charity Director of Programming and Development for a non-profit organisation called the Easel Initiative was inspiring and open about working in the sector and the importance of opening up the arts industry to a wider and more diverse audience.
  • Eleanor Boyer (BA English 2015), who now works at Google in the Government and Public Policy team, allowed students to consider how their degrees can have more of a relationship to working in the tech industry than they might at first think.
  • Sarah Pit(BA English Literature & Community Engagement 2014), who works as the MD for MSP TV has attended both our networking evening and our session on Film and TV! Her wisdom on the area and channelled creativity were truly second to none.
  • Natasha Riordan-Eva (BA Music 2011), Event Manager at the Southbank Centre specialising in classical music, captivated the audience with her experiences of being at Bristol and how this has helped her in her career, including achieving her life-long aspiration of presenting on BBC Radio 3).
  • Piers Alder (BA English 1988) works as a Copywriter and extolled the virtues of working freelance, writing for a living and being able to work on a variety of different projects and initiatives.
  • Hannah Armstrong (BA Archaeology and Anthropology 2010), Principal Heritage Consultant at Pegasus Group, works in the planning sector and advises on heritage assets. It was interesting to see how relevant a degree in Archaeology and Anthropology can be to the legal world.
  • Gemma Brace (MA History of Art 2010), Exhibitions and Engagement Officer at the University of Bristol highlighted the dedication, passion and drive that go into forging a career in the arts and culture sector.
Natasha Riordan-Eva talks to our Music students about working in live events

To all the alumni who contributed to our events this year, including those who could not attend but would have liked to, we would like to extend a huge thanks from all of us in the Faculty of Arts and Careers Service. Your input is invaluable to our students and provides both a source of inspiration and greater clarity on what it’s really like to work in your chosen sectors.

Faculty of Arts alumni: please get in touch with Anona Williams (Faculty of Arts) if you would like to get involved in future events, interviews or promotional videos at

Find out more about the Bristol Volunteers programme for alumni.

Congratulations to our London Marathon team

On 28 April 2019, seven Bristol alumni, staff and students ran the London Marathon in support of Healthy Minds, a physical activity programme at the University which taps into the benefits of exercise to support students affected by mental ill health. 

Thank you to Chloe, Chris, Grace, Jack, Marissa, Sam and Verity, who raised a fantastic total of £15,276.31. We are delighted to congratulate them on their success, and share their thoughts about the experiences they had running for Bristol.


Chloe Parsons

“I couldn’t have been more proud to represent the University at such a fantastic event. It was unforgettable.

The moment I found out that I had received a Golden Bond place I was overjoyed and overwhelmed and filled with happiness. I have always wanted to run a marathon, but not just any marathon; for many years my eyes have been set on London. The London Marathon was absolutely incredible. It was such a special and momentous experience and I will never forget it.

Before I ran the marathon, I said that it would be the first and the last purely based on the commitment to the training plan alongside other commitments. Not even a week after running it, I have not only entered the ballot for London next year, I have also entered the Manchester Marathon in 2020.

The crowds and support in London on the day of the marathon were on a whole new level. The experience was so different to any race I had ever done before, and I would happily run the London Marathon each and every single year if I could. I managed to finish the London Marathon in a time of exactly 4 hours! Just 1 second off my target, but that’s the price that has to be paid for a perfectly paced and perfectly timed marathon – so I’ve been told! I’ll get it next time!”


Christiaan J. Knaup

“The marathon gave me a goal, an objective, something to strive for outside of a professional setting. It gave me an active lifestyle and embodied everything that Healthy Minds stands for, for myself. One week after the London Marathon, I woke up and felt strange for not having to go out and complete my Sunday long run – something that I had been doing for the past 5 months. I realised that the training has enforced a habit, which at its worst forces me not to look at a screen for a couple of hours and at best gives me a huge endorphin rush when I break a personal best. I have now signed up for the London Triathlon, Olympic distance, at the end of July. This should theoretically be easier than the Marathon, but is another venture to seek out.

It is quantifiable how much running the marathon has helped me with dealing with my grief, but I recognise that I am now in a better mental position than I was in before I started training, and that exact opportunity is what I want to thank Bristol for.”


Grace Kendrick

“It was an incredible experience, and I was overwhelmed by the support of the crowds! I managed to see Jack and Chris also running for Bristol at the start line, but ran for most the way with another alumni student who I’d been at University with. I was honoured to be running for such an important cause.”



Marissa Guiang

“The whole London Marathon experience is one that I’ll never forget. For every mile of the race (and every mile during training), it felt so meaningful to do it for a cause that was much greater than just my own personal athletic goals. The work I put into training was fuelled by my motivation to give back to the University of Bristol’s Healthy Minds Programme – an initiative that I care deeply about and resonates with me. The marathon race itself was like a victory lap around the great city of London, to celebrate months of training and generous funding from all my supporters.”



Sam Collier

“It was an incredible day, the crowds were fantastic and the atmosphere like nothing I’ve experienced. I set myself three goals for the day: 1. Finish. 2. Try to do this in under 4 hours. 3. Try to do this without walking.

Everything was going well and I was exceeding expectations up to mile 19 in Canary Wharf, but nothing prepares you for the physical and mental anguish of hitting ‘the wall’. I’d experienced glimpses of what I thought was the wall in the training. Forcing your body to keep moving when every signal it’s giving you says it’s a terrible idea is really tough.

When I stepped over the finish line I felt an enormous sense of pride in what I’d accomplished, not just over the past 3 hours and 50 minutes, but over the whole 6 month period of training. I honestly can’t think of a more appropriate way to raise money for the University’s Healthy Minds Programme than by taking on the mental and physical battle of the marathon, and would encourage anyone, particularly those who struggle with their mental health, to take on the challenge in the future.”


Feeling inspired? The University of Bristol has five places in the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon, and applications for the places will open in Autumn this year. For more information, please contact