A Marathon a Month Hi, my name is Max and in 2020 I have committed to running a minimum of a marathon distance a month to raise money for Bipolar UK and another charity called 3Pillars. The idea came about in late 2019 during a discussion with my parents; 2019 was a very difficult year for me personally, which culminated in my own diagnosis with bipolar disorder. The idea for a monthly challenge was initially to give me better structure and something to look forward to every four weeks. I was quickly finding events and signing up, I chose running because it is something that I have some experience in, having completed a few marathons and longer races in the past two years. I am certainly not a natural runner (I previously competed in Strongman competitions) and I am not fast, but I am strong-willed and stubborn. I have been asked a lot about why I would choose to do these things – ‘don’t they hurt?’, ‘your poor feet’ and my favourite ‘I don’t even like driving that far’. I honestly don’t know the answer. I am unsure if being attracted to extreme activities like this is due to my bipolar or simply my personality. The events I have completed so far this year are two trail marathons (run on trails rather than road) a 50km race and, due to the lockdown, I rowed 70km on a Concept2 rowing machine, so far this is 28 hours of endurance events completed in 2020. I am planning on running a section of the Thames tow path for this month’s challenge, seeing as we are now allowed outside for longer. I don’t know how far I will go yet but it will be at least a marathon. The reason I chose the charities I did are fairly straightforward, 3Pillars is a fantastic organisation that helps to rehabilitate released prisoners using fitness and sport, and Bipolar UK is an amazing resource for thousands of people affected by the condition across the country. When I was first diagnosed, I was very confused about a lot of things and had a very hard time accepting the diagnosis. I found out about the central London support group through the Bipolar UK website and they have been so welcoming and kind – to have a group of people who have experienced so many of the same things as you, is so valuable. Hearing people talking about the illness and helping to provide information and insight made me so glad that such groups existed. The current situation with COVID-19 has the potential to really throw off a lot of our normal routines and as we know, this can lead to an episode being triggered, I hope everyone is staying safe and that they continue to use the excellent resources produced by Bipolar UK, staying in contact with friends and group members is so important, so please keep looking out for others! Max The link to Max's fundraising page can be found here.