Mandown founder Jerry Sutton recently completed the United States Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC. 4 hours 30 minutes is not a bad time for a gnarly old veteran. He ran the marathon with Team Side by Side a group of wounded ex servicemen participating with their able bodied counterparts. Jerry’s guys were James Watt a regular marathoner, Andy Reid a triple amputee veteran of Afghanistan and Ben Flannery a wounded veteran recently with the Paras
‘It was awesome to be part of such an amazing event’ said Jerry, whose team were featured in the Washington Post, ‘it was particularly an honour to run the 26.2 miles with my wounded mates’. The event was close to the Mandown heart as team Side by Side comprised runners suffering both physical and mental health difficulties. In fact the majority of the Danish contingent were veterans suffering from PTSD.
‘Lot’s of people who struggle with a wide range of mental health challenges find running to be a great help’ says Jerry Sutton ‘while scientific research is a little ambivalent on the matter many men have real experience of the all round benefits of exercise and running in particular’.
‘Of course it’s not a panacea, but running helps with managing depression, alongside other interventions. It’s particularly good practice to develop in times of remission or for keeping depression at bay’ observes Guardian journalist Simon Hattlenstone,’ Numerous studies support this – as indeed does the NHS, which has advised exercise alongside traditional care (usually antidepressants or counselling) for aeons. I’m no expert, but you don’t need to be to work out why exercise can work wonders. We feel less self-loathing and existential nausea because we are doing stuff, probably making ourselves look a little better in the process; we feel mildly triumphal because we’re not allowing the demons to dominate; we’re getting out into the fresh air, seeing and feeling the sun (which is just what depressives at their nadir tend to deny themselves), we’re more social (nodding and smiling at fellow runners), develop a sense of camaraderie and solidarity, generally feel more optimistic and included in the world’
Some might say that 26 miles is a bit extreme and they would be right. Starting gradually a couple of minutes a day and working up to half an hour over a few weeks is not impossible. Getting a few miles into those trainers hidden away in the bottom of your closet might give you just that little extra that could make all the difference.