A man from London named Harry Cleary is taking on a remarkable challenge to raise awareness for mental health. Following his father’s passing, Cleary, 25, has committed to running four ultramarathons in just one month. Each ultramarathon will cover a distance of 56km (35 miles) with the aim of raising funds for the charity Movember. Running became a source of support for Cleary during his grieving process, leading him to use it as a platform for fundraising. The first three ultramarathons will be held in London on consecutive Saturdays in November, followed by the final one in Leeds on November 26th.
Cleary’s father, Graham, passed away earlier this year due to complications related to alcoholism. Cleary describes his father as “complex” but also “fiercely intelligent and sharp-witted.” Witnessing his father’s decline had a lasting impact on Cleary, motivating him to find healthy ways to cope. Running became that outlet for him, helping him navigate through his own struggles with depression and anxiety. Cleary firmly believes that running has not only brought him to the happiest and healthiest state of his life but has also transformed what has been an incredibly challenging year.
The fourth and final ultramarathon is of particular significance to Cleary as he will be passing through locations that held importance in his father’s life. Along the route, Cleary will run past his father’s childhood home in Farsley and the first house he bought when he moved out at 19. This journey aims to honor his father’s memory and pay tribute to his roots. Ultimately, the run will culminate in Leeds stadium, a place that holds significance for both his father and grandfather, who were passionate Leeds United fans.
Cleary has meticulously planned his own routes for the ultramarathons and has received offers from individuals who are willing to join him on this journey. As he approaches his fundraising goal of £3,000, Cleary hopes that his mission will spark life-saving conversations about mental health. He emphasizes the importance of men opening up about their feelings and seeking help when needed, a lesson he aims to convey through his running challenge.
If you or someone you know is affected by the topics discussed in this article, BBC Action Line provides details of organizations that can offer assistance.