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Alex Dodd with running buddy Arnie

Samarathon is your kind of virtual run

One service that is crucial in the current lockdown circumstances is that provided by the Samaritans. But like all charities the Samaritans is facing a real challenge in maintaining its essential work. However with good timing The Samarathon returns for a second year.

Event organisers are now inviting people to run, jog or walk 26.2 miles throughout July and support their vital work. Participants undertake this virtual marathon when and where it suits them and in addition are asked to be kind to themselves in these unsettling times.

The Samarathon made a successful debut in 2019 and is back in 2020 but under very different circumstances. The coronavirus outbreak has had a major impact upon the Samaritans as with many other charities and their services are in greater demand as people struggle to cope with lockdown and subsequent mental health issues.

This fundraising challenge is held in July which means warm, sunny weather (hopefully!) and at a time and pace to suit participants. They can complete this solo, with other members of their household or family and friends – virtually - whilst observing the latest guidelines around exercise and social distancing.

Two Samaritans are taking part. Hayley Rivens from Tamworth is a trainee volunteer and running this for the second time in memory of her mother whom she sadly lost to suicide. She and her fellow trainees have formed a team to fundraise and Hayley has also set herself the challenge of two Samarathons in July – a total of 52.4 miles.

Alex Dodd is a listening volunteer at Blackpool Samaritans and a keen runner and together with her dog Arnie (pictured above) will be taking on this virtual marathon which she likes for its flexibility and being able to fit it around your life. She admits it’s a challenge but will: “Feel proud when I’ve achieved it.”

There is support from broadcaster and journalist Charlie Webster and celebrity backing from Cathy Shipton who is more famously known for her role as ‘Duffy’ in TV’s medical drama Casualty. Both feel strongly about this charity and the increasing need for their services during this crisis.

For more information and to enter, visit the Samarathon website.

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