Chris Gaskin has set himself a gruelling challenge.
On the 7th of September, Chris will begin a 400-kilometre journey across the width of the UK. Running an average of 100km a day, Chris’ goal is to raise awareness of mental health issues and help to create an environment where individuals feel comfortable enough to admit they need support.
Chris will be running in Aussie Grit Apparel.
We asked Chris about his coast to coast run.
How long have you been running for Chris? Why did you start?
I have always led a physical life but joining the military at the age of 16 introduced me to keeping fit and pushing past boundaries both physical and mental. Running is something I now do to maintain my fitness and create head space.
Can you please tell us about the run you are preparing for?
The 400km route will include the same coast to coast route made famous by Alfred Wainwright. Starting in the Cumbrian village of St Bees in the North West of England, it passes through three contrasting National Parks: The Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales, and the North York Moors, finishing at Robin Hood’s Bay in the North East of England. The route then passes back through the North York Moors and to Harrogate in North Yorkshire.
Can you tell us about the charities you have aligned with?
There are many great charities out there and I have opted to align with Mind. Mind provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem.
What inspired you to take on this challenge?
Mind reports that 1:4 people will suffer from mental health problems this year.
After leaving the military, I moved into healthcare. Something that I never appreciated before was the number of people presenting with a history of mental health. What’s clear is there is much to learn and increasing awareness can only help us to understand and find solutions to make improvements to the lives of sufferers.
Running 400km in four days is going to be challenging. How are you preparing, and what do you think will be the most difficult part of the journey?
I have been undertaking long-distance practice runs but the mental side is something I have not been able to replicate; this is going to be my biggest challenge. I know there will be moments when I’ll feel the urge to give up, but understanding that I will feel better at some point will be key.
Which Aussie Grit Apparel garments have you been training in and what do you think of the gear?
In the military, I learned very early that your kit and equipment is one of the most important factors and can be the difference between success and failure.
I first bought the Aussie Grit 2in1 shorts as I liked the storage they offered and after wearing them I have not looked back. I now have the long tights, focus jacket, long sleeve running top and many t shirts all of which I’ll wear during my run.
The kit is comfortable, lightweight and well-priced and the ‘connected to nature’ and ‘no stone unturned’ ethos of Aussie Grit Apparel resonates with me.
Do you have anything planned for when you finish the race; food you'd like to eat or places you'd like to go to relax?
Once the run is over, I’m sure I would like to take a shower and get some sleep! I love ice cream after long runs, so I’m sure that this will be the first thing I will want.
I see the 400km run as a starting point, so planning the next challenge will be my focus. If anyone has any ideas, I would love to hear them.
If people would like to support your cause, how can they help?
Reading this article, telling friends and colleagues about the run and the charity will help significantly. If it encourages conversations this would be the best outcome.