During the Covid-19 pandemic, the London Marathon moved to the month of October in 2021 and 2022, from the normal April, and also introduced a virtual event. This means that there was an opportunity to complete the 26 miles and 385 yards (42.195 kilometres) distance from home.
A virtual Marathon is an alternative format of the iconic London Marathon where participants can run or walk the race from their own location, rather than on the traditional course in London. The event is organised online and participants can complete the marathon distance, 26.2 miles, at their own pace, but in the space of 24 hours. Participants typically use a GPS-enabled device, such as a smartphone or fitness tracker, to track their progress and record their time.
Attendees from ‘For Men To Talk – Biggleswade’, as well as physical meetings, have been walking once a month to improve their mental health.
Walking has numerous benefits for mental health, including:
- Reduces stress and anxiety: Walking can help to release tension, clear the mind, and reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety.
- Boosts mood: Physical activity releases endorphins, the ‘feel-good’ hormones, which can elevate mood and reduce feelings of depression.
- Improves sleep: Regular walking can help regulate sleep patterns and lead to a better night’s sleep.
- Increases self-esteem: Regular exercise, such as walking, can lead to improved body image and increased self-esteem.
- Enhances cognitive function: Walking has been shown to improve cognitive function, including memory and concentration.
- Increases social connections: Walking with friends or in groups can increase social connections and improve mental well-being.
In July 2022, seven attendees signed up for the virtual Marathon and took up a 12-week plan, leading to the big walk in October 2022! It was the incentive the men needed to get fit and improve their mental health.
“There were aches and pains, but it was an incredible day”, said ‘For Men To Talk’ founder Luke Newman. “I can’t tell you how proud of I am of all the walkers, what an achievement!”
Now the London Marathon has returned to April 2023, the ‘For Men To Talk’ walkers are back and want men more to join. At the same time, they will raise money which will go towards helping more men at the physical, virtual and walking meetings.
The schedule is:
To sign up for the Virtual London Marathon, for an actual medal (optional), please visit https://www.tcslondonmarathon.com/the-event/virtual-marathon
For more information and to donate, please head to https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/FMTTLM23