An NHS manager who ran five marathons in five days is setting up a free running club – and all are welcome.
With a focus on mental health, this is a club for people who want to start running or improve their running.
Ian Puttock, from Angmering, is based in Worthing as head of digital development at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
A father of four, he started running ten years ago when his wife died suddenly.
The running club will be based at Worthing Leisure Centre and launches on Friday, January 25, with two lunchtime sessions, one for beginners followed by one for improvers.
Ian raised more than £3,000 for Heads On, the trust’s official charity, through his 5 in 5 marathon challenge last summer. The money will be used to help people with mental health problems to feel supported, stay active and be more involved in their communities.
Ian said: “Running has become a large part of my life and along with my family has helped me get through some very difficult times. Losing my wife 11 years ago turned my world upside down by suddenly finding myself with four children to bring up on my own.
“Fortunately, I was lucky enough to meet someone else and it is with large thanks to my partner that she introduced me to the idea of going out a couple of times a week to run. This has definitely helped my own personal mental health.
“There is a link between running and improved mental health and the purpose of these two new courses is to help people who want to give running a go but maybe haven’t got a clue where to start, and those who do run but need or want some support to improve their running.
“Both of these courses are designed to provide people with the confidence to either start or continue their running in a safe and unintimidating environment.”
One Step at a Time is a 12-week course for beginners, 12pm to 12.45pm each Friday. People will be supported to slowly build up to running up to 5k.
Every Step Counts is a 12-week course, 1pm to 1.45pm each Friday, for people who would like to improve their times, or increase their distances from 5k to 10k, or 10K to ten miles.
The courses are hosted in conjunction with Sussex Recovery College and two peer trainers who have lived experience of mental health illness. Visit sussexrecoverycollege.org.uk to book a place.