Royals inspire run to raise awareness

Chris Haramis is training for the London Marathon
Chris Haramis is training for the London Marathon

Prince William has said this year’s London Marathon will be known as the Mental Health Marathon.

Recovery worker Chris Haramis has been helping troubled young people for nearly four years and wanted to get on board to raise money for Coastal West Sussex Mind through the Heads Together campaign, spearheaded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

He had not been running since school and now aged 34 it has truly been a marathon effort to be ready for the event but he is nearly there.

Chris, who lives in Chichester and works for Mind in Worthing, said: “I hadn’t played any sport or done much exercise beyond walking for many years. I started by jogging around the area of Chichester where I live and built up to doing the weekly Parkrun.

“Since October, I have been steadily increasing the distance and now feel just about ready for April 23.

“I am really keen to raise as much awareness as I can for my chosen charity, not least because this year’s marathon has been dubbed ‘the mental health marathon’.

“All of us have mental health, which comes under pressure at certain points in our lives. Currently, for too many people, the fear of being judged or treated differently stops them from seeking help they desperately need.

“Heads Together and Mind are both aiming to stop this stigma and if I can make it easier for one or two people to ask for support then I will feel all the training will be worth it. Hopefully, I will succeed in my target of reaching £2,500.”

Visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ChrisHaramis to make a donation.

Chris has always been interested in helping others but never felt brave enough to do it until life intervened about six years ago and gave him the motivation to take the plunge.

He decided to go back to university to retrain as a counsellor and once he got his diploma, he started working for Mind. He has been volunteering as a counsellor at The Information Shop for Young People in Chichester for nearly four years.

“Through both these roles I saw so many people who were too scared to talk about their mental health issues and had just tried to carry on regardless,” said Chris.

“When the opportunity arose to raise awareness and battle the stigma within society, I jumped at the chance.

“I feel so privileged to have this opportunity, especially as this year’s London Marathon has been dubbed the Mental Health Marathon and want to raise as much money and awareness as I can.”

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