A Yorkshire man is aiming to raise £10,000 for charity Mind by running 400km coast-to-coast.
Christopher Gaskin, 37, said his aim for the ultramarathon is to raise awareness of mental health issues - particularly in people who might be traditionally overlooked.
On Saturday at 4am, Mr Gaskin set off from St Bees in Cumbria, and plans to run across the width of the UK, taking in the Yorkshire Dales, the Lake District and the North York Moors. After about 300km at Robin Hood’s Bay, Mr Gaskin will turn around and go back some of the way, eventually heading south to finish at Betty’s in Harrogate.
He has planned for 100km a day but thinks there is a chance of finishing in three and a half days.
“I spent 13 years in the military so I’ve been physically active but I wouldn’t class myself as a runner. I like to get out on the hills and one of the reasons I’m doing this is for mental health charity Mind.”
He did the Yorkshire Three Peaks two and a half times - a distance of about 120km - in preparation for the run.
“It’s going to be difficult. Mentally, physically it’s going to be difficult. I’m going to be running for 20 hours a day.”
His wife Kelly and friend Tim Sluman, who is also an ex-serviceman, will be keeping tabs on him during the run to ensure he stays on track.
Mr Gaskin, who has served all over the world, attempted the run before many years ago with a friend when they’d both finished serving in the armed forces, as a way of “decompressing” and adjusting to family life.
He did not complete it then, though he said it served its purpose in helping his mental health at the time, after losing friends and being in a very challenging environment.
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Now working in healthcare and living in Little Smeaton, near Pontefract, with Kelly and 16-year-old son, Mr Gaskin wants to help others in the same situation as him.
Mr Gaskin said there’s one thing he’s looking forward to at the end of the run.
“I like ice cream. If I can get rum and raisin I’d be over the moon but I’ll take whatever I can get.”
Anyone wanting to sponsor Mr Gaskin can visit his JustGiving page.