Student Doctor raises over £4k for Young Minds with marathon challenge

Published on

runners in front of cathedral

Final Year Student Doctor Alice Fortune is on the home stretch of an incredible fundraising challenge she set herself to run a half marathon in every city in the country, all in aid of the Young Minds Trust.

Alice has just presented her research into the use of orthotics in improving comfort, speed and injury rate at the European Federation of National Associations of Orthopaedics and Traumatology (EFORT) in Vienna (link).

As she prepares to begin the North West Specialised Foundation Programme this summer, Alice took a moment to share an update on her marathon challenge progress and just what the support it has generated has meant to her over the last couple of years.

“It’s been almost two years since I had the idea to try and run a half marathon in every city in England (link) to raise money for Young Minds UK.

Since then, the number of official cities in England has risen from 51 to 55, and I have run a half marathon in 34 of them!

In a few cities, I’ve signed up to official race events to complete the half marathon. These are always great fun as the crowd and atmosphere really spurs you on, but many cities don’t have an official event and, as I am self-funding this challenge, I am trying to keep costs to a minimum.

Therefore, I have completed most cities as a day trip, planning my own route, taking the train from Liverpool, arriving, running 21km then grabbing some food and heading home.

I have been grateful to have friends and family join me for some of these runs which has made them much more enjoyable.

a group of runners and a single runner holding up sign

I’ve found the physical challenge of doing these runs has remained fairly static (I’m still sore by the end every time!) but the mental challenge of doing them has massively diminished.

I think I’ve gained a lot of confidence from doing these runs over and over again. Nowadays when I set off for one, I feel reassured that if I’ve done this so many times before, then I can probably do it again! Despite being repetitive, I’m grateful that I haven’t lost my love for long distance running at all.

I still find it enjoyable as it gives you such a calm headspace and a sense of freedom and strength, and the novelty of being able to cover so much distance on your own two feet still hasn’t worn off!

Why I undertook the challenge

Since taking up running a few years ago, I have always found it to massively benefit my mental health. I wanted to take on a challenge that would allow me to help improve the mental health of other young people, as well as my own.

I’m really excited to have raised over £4,700 so far for Young Minds UK! This money will support Young Mind’s work in providing mental health advice and support services, including their advice phoneline for parents, and campaigning for better mental health support for young people in the UK.

My fundraising target is £10,000. I know this is ambitious, but I would love to get as close to it as possible.

I hope to do this by spreading the word about my challenge as much as possible via social media and news outlets.

Plans for completing the challenge

Having completed most of the cities in the North of England and Midlands, I’m left with most of the cities in the South, including London, Bristol, Brighton and several others to complete. To save time and costs, I have paired these up and will aim to complete two half marathons at a time in one weekend trip (one on Saturday, one on Sunday).

I start my Foundation Year 1 in August this year and depending how I find it I’m aiming to complete one weekend of running per month. All going well, this will allow me to complete the challenge in Spring 2024. My final run of the challenge will involve ticking off both City of London and City of Westminster in one go with a full marathon!

A big thank you!

I’d like to thank everyone who has supported this challenge so far – all those who have run with me, donated or shared my challenge with others. It makes a big difference to feel supported and has allowed us to raise a huge amount of money for Young Minds UK so far.”

Well done Alice! If you’d like to get involved or find out more, head to Alice’s Running 55 Cities pages on Twitter (link) or Instagram (link).