A British Army Staff Corporal, soon to be civilian, will be starting his new career by running around the entire UK coastline to raise money for charity.
After almost 18 years in the Army, Paul Minter wanted to find a unique way to launch his adult civilian life and his new mental health charity, Head Up. He said:
"I've got to do something pretty extreme, that's never been done before, but also something that would allow people to interact with it."
On November 27, 2020, Paul will be medically discharged from the Army, and the following day his 5,800-mile running challenge begins.
He decided to set up the charity, Head Up, to help others with mental health issues after learning how to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) himself. He said:
“There's lots of other people out there that need the same kind of help as I do. I was already speaking to six people at the time and I thought what if I could do this on a grander scale, and just help people.”
LISTEN: Paul speaks to BFBS Radio broadcaster Hal Stewart about the challenge and his time in the Army.
During lockdown, Paul was based in Scotland and would go on long runs. This time alone inspired him to take on the 200-day challenge around the UK.
His challenge will start in November and end in June 2021. Running through the height of winter was a decision made on purpose to support people, during what can be a hard time of year. He said:
“The winter months are very hard months for some people, a lot of people get depressed, suicide rates go up.”
Paul's route starts in South Shields, and then follows the coastline in a clockwise circuit. He will be wearing a tracker so his progress can be followed online, as well as writing blog posts to share the experience.
He is hoping that people will join him along the way either running or walking alongside him. He is also looking for places to stay and eat as he makes his way around the lengthy route.
Cover image: Staff Corporal Paul Minter on a training run (Picture: Paul Minter).