Jim Barber explains why he is walking (virtually) from Land’s End to John o’Groats to fundraise for Tonic.
Jim Barber is kindly raising money for Tonic by walking from Land’s End to John o’Groats (virtually). You can donate to the fundraiser by following this link:
Here’s Jim’s story...
Land’s End to John o'Groats
Virtual walk/run, 874 miles in 12 months
On Monday 23rd November I started walking (virtually) from Land’s End to John o'Groats.
More details of the event and a sign-up page are here:
After recently completing a 75 mile challenge in just under a week, and raising around £200 for Tonic, I needed another challenge. By taking this on, everyone's a winner... I get to continue my walking with a purpose, it will commit me to the cause, and I promise to deliver. I will have a focus, possibly inspire others, and my own wellbeing will benefit.
I will explore new places to complete these walks along the way. There will be regular updates on my progress – my virtual route will be plotted against the actual route to John o'Groats. I will need all the support I can get, so there may be opportunities to join in on some legs along the way once restrictions allow.
Above all else, I want it to be fun and enjoy it. No backing out now!!!
Music is so important to me, having been fortunate enough to have played in bands and put records on at various events across the city most of my adult life. I know how great it is for your wellbeing and all the therapeutic benefits that come with it. I certainly couldn't live without it in my life, either playing guitar or listening.
I have also had my struggles with my mental health at various points in my life – the most recent being the passing of my Dad back in 2004. He died very suddenly of an aneurism... and it devastated me and my family. I was so unwell that I didn't even make the funeral... I was drinking far too much, not coping very well at all, and hurting so bad I was on self-destruct and not making sensible decisions.
Grief seems to be a never-ending journey with twists and turns, and it can also come out of nowhere and just hit you. It can be triggered by the smallest things and also catch you by surprise – just hearing a song or a memory... I was lucky enough to have an amazing support network around me and a close loving family.
This second lockdown is looking pretty bleak and people are more and more in need of the services Tonic provide, and delivering them during lockdown must be really difficult. I worry about the people who are affected more by the restraints of the lockdown – adding to the numbers who already struggle day to day with their mental health. Not being able to be with friends and family, becoming more withdrawn and marginalised... forgotten.
Running hurts. I chose to walk because I knew I could still be active, lose weight and be outside in a beautiful seaside setting. I could also walk every day with no need to recover from the battering that running gave me. I found time to just be... listen to music... chat with a friend. Mainly it was to break the cycle... takeaways... beers... work... Groundhog Day. It's made me want to keep going and now I look forward to it. I've walked to my mum's in Horndean from Southsea, and my sister in Havant got a visit... Now I'm getting invites for takeaway roast dinners if I walk to Hambledon... I mean come on... what would you do for a gravy dinner?