NHS manager Ian Puttock is planning five marathons in five days in a bid to raise awareness of mental health issues.
Ian, 48, is head of digital development at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, based in Worthing, and lives in Angmering.
His wife died unexpectedly ten years ago, leaving him with four young children to bring up, and running has helped with his own personal mental health.
Ian now wants to use his training to help others and raise money for Heads On, the foundation trust’s charity.
He said: “Running has become a large part of my life and along with my family has helped me get through some very difficult times.
“Losing my wife turned my world upside down. Fortunately I was lucky enough to meet someone else and it is with large thanks to my partner that she introduced me to the idea of going out a couple of times a week to run.
“This has definitely helped my own personal mental health and through personal experience, I have seen when things don’t go well.
“This year, the opportunity to run five marathons in five days came up and I couldn’t resist. I’m running five in five just to see if I can.
“I think the biggest challenge will be recovery between each race but I’m looking forward to seeing what I’m capable of.”
It was Alison, his new partner, that suggested Ian take up running. He completed his first 10k in 2009 and remembers it being quite daunting, as it was a new challenge for him.
Ian said: “The atmosphere of the first race I ran is what motivated me to do more. The feeling that I was challenging myself and there was always a new goal that could be reached, whether it was a quicker time or a longer distance.”
The Marathon Madness 5 in 5 is organised by Sussex Trail Events and starts on Monday, June 25. A group of 35 runners will cover two trail and three footpath routes, including Worthing seafront, Highdown Hill, High Salvington and Lancing seafront.
Ian is no stranger to marathons, having completed nine in the past, including one ultra marathon of 38 miles, but he has never run marathons on consecutive days.
His personal best is 3 hours, 50 minutes, though he plans to pace himself for the five marathon challenge and hopes to complete each race in around five hours.
Training for Ian has involved a seven-mile scenic route to and from his office at Swandean as often as possible, culminating in a full marathon at the end of May.
Ian’s running has also inspired his children, Alyssa, ten, Joshua, 16, and Samantha, 18, and they regularly run with him, including the 5k Worthing parkrun every Saturday.
Ian said his daughter Abigail, 21, had yet to catch the running bug but he remained optimistic about persuading he to try.
Ian recently celebrated 30 years’ service with the NHS and he has set a fundraising target of £1,500.
He said: “This is an opportunity for me to help local people who may be struggling with their mental health and wellbeing.
“It saddens me to see people, including close family members, struggling with life. There is always a future.”
Visit www.justgiving.com/ian-5in5 to make a donation.