Athlete runs seven marathons in seven days for mental health charity

Image source, Sarah Thomson
Image caption,
Sarah Thomson said she felt "really good" after completing seven marathons in seven days from her home in Newquay

An athlete from Cornwall who has run seven marathons in seven days for the mental health charity Mind said she felt "really good".

Sarah Thomson, 28, from Newquay, said she was inspired to take on the challenge after attempting to take her own life in 2020.

"Last lockdown I got horrifically low... I thought I need to try to turn this into something good," she said.

Miss Thomson completed each run in less than four hours.

Image source, Sarah Thomson
Image caption,
Miss Thomson's "amazing" housemates have been preparing an ice bath for the end of each marathon

The 28-year-old, who has successfully competed in a number of sports including surfing and ultra marathons, ran 26.2 miles (42km) alone, every day for a week starting last Wednesday.

She finished her final run in three hours and 40 minutes.

Miss Thomson said she had run in sun, wind, and dramatic hailstorms over the week and Tuesday's run was "just so wet".

Image source, Sarah Thomson
Image caption,
The seven-marathon challenge included lots of running in the dark and in all kinds of weather

For two of the runs, she started at 02:00 GMT to get back in time for early lectures on her access to healthcare course. She started the other five at 05:30 in order to avoid seeing too many people.

She said over the week the challenge had changed from something she was "using for my own head" to a "demonstration of how amazing people are" and how they are willing to support others.

Miss Thomson said she hoped to raise awareness for Mind, but was delighted that people had also donated more than £5,000.

Image source, Benedict Tufnell
Image caption,
Miss Thomson previously competed in the ultra marathon in Jordan in 2018 and was the first female, coming fifth overall in the 250km five-day race

Miss Thomson, who hopes to become a paramedic, urged anyone experiencing mental health difficulties to reach out and said her challenge proved "no matter how tough things get... things do get better".

Going out to exercise once a day, including to go running, is one of the "reasonable excuses" for leaving home during lockdown, according to government guidance.

If you or someone you know is struggling with issues raised in this story, find support through the BBC Action Line.

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