44 marathons, 44 European countries, 44 consecutive days
On April 1st 2017 Peter Thompson is beginning an epic adventure on behalf of Livability Holton Lee’s Flourish project and MIND. He will be attempting to run an incredible 44 marathons in 44 days – a marathon within every country in Europe.
Peter says he has three main aims:
- To raise support for mental health issues
- To inspire people to challenge their limits
- To run a really, really long way!
Running for a cause
‘This is my way to move my focus away from running quickly to running for a cause. It is a way to challenge myself in a new way and use my running ability to try and make a positive difference. It is also my way of showing to myself, and hopefully others, that it is ok to admit when things have gone too far and that it is possible to change.
I have had many friends and family members who have, and who still suffer, from a variety of mental health conditions,’ says Peter.
Once I’d come up with the idea of running across Europe I had to work out if it was actually possible! I used the Official United Nations Statistics to determine how many independent countries were actually in Europe, as there seems to be many differing opinions. I’m sure there will be some Geography teachers out there that may argue differently but I have chosen to exclude dependences for example such as the Faroe Islands or Guernsey. Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey appear to be considered states in both continents so there out, and despite being considered politically and culturally within Europe, Armenia and Cyprus are geographically in Asia so they miss out on the short list too. Either way Mr Idle can vouch that Geography was never my strong point so I’m just going to concentrate on the running and stick with the UN’s 44.
The route itself will involve a mixture of trains, planes, buses, taxis, cars and ferries and will span the entire continent of Europe. I will not bore you with the logistical nightmare involved in moving from one country to the next during this sort of challenge, but we will soon find out if those hours and hours spent planning will pay off.
There are many variables that I can’t control which have the potential to create problems along the way but, for me, overcoming these just add to the challenge. If it was easy I would be trying to come up with some other equally inventive way to get me out of work for 2 months!