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Aberdeen PHD Student to Run Ultramarathon for Men’s Mental Health

Geoscience Student to Run 46 Miles Across Wales to Raise Money for Suicide Prevention


By Mustapha Chughtai


A current pursuant of a PhD in Geoscience at the University of Aberdeen, Richard Austin, born in England and raised in Wrexham, Wales has been associated with the University for the past 8 years while simultaneously working in his capacity as a Royal Engineers Reservist. He exclaims that he is no stranger to running marathons, having raced at tracks in Balmoral and Bennachie on several instances. However, this occasion seems to be different as Richard exclaims that he has never “completed a marathon which makes this challenge even more difficult”. 


Richard, at the tender age of 27, having set a fundraising target of £2000 alongside his long-time friends Callum Davies and Finn Gibbens, is particularly elated to run a 46-mile ultramarathon across Wales, from the England/Wales border in Shropshire to Aberystwyth on the west coast of Wales, all in a single day, owing to its purpose. CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) aims to take a stand against suicide, ensuring support and services for suicide prevention and men suffering from mental health crises.


Richard declares that he has “seen first-hand the debilitating effects that those suffering from mental health issues can face”. He appreciates how being active outdoors and engaging in physical activities “can alleviate some of those issues, or at least provide a short period of respite”. Despite being very involved in physical pursuits and challenging activities; he was waiting for the right time to run across Wales - the country he was raised in - for an honourable cause and is finally ready to grab this chance. 

“Our training is going very well”, says Richard, and “we will be more than prepared come the 25th of May”. 

The trio began preparing for the marathon since the beginning of the year, running at least 40 miles weekly, dividing their runs between relaxed runs and more intensive, lengthy weekend runs. They aim to increase their number to 50 miles by the end of their training to ensure maximum durability and acclimate themselves to intense activity. 


Richard immersed himself in running during lockdown, finding that it contributed positively to his own mental health. He says that he is sure that taking up at-home physical activities and benefitting from them “was the case for thousands across the UK and likely millions across the globe”.


Adding to that, he further exclaims that he would “love to use this challenge as a platform to support the CALM charity and show others how transformative running, or just spending time outdoors, can be for your mental health.” He believes that his participation in the ultramarathon will “give my fellow students and peers the confidence and inspiration to challenge themselves with a run or even a walk outside.”


Starting from the village of Anchor, the marathon will run across Wales from east to west in an almost straight line. The elevation of the route will be approximately 1700 metres. the same as one and a half Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa).


To support the trio’s (Richard, Callum, and Finn) endeavour, visit their JustGiving page at: rb.gy/wjnif0


For information or support from CALM, visit: thecalmzone.net

1 Comment


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Jun 24

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