Paul Minter, a British Army Veteran, is currently running the circumference of the UK to raise money for the charity he founded, Head Up.
Beginning in March, Paul’s run sees him averaging 31.2 miles a day, and he has so far travelled 2,300 miles along the UK coastline, taking over 4.3 million steps and climbing over 86,000 ft.
The feat will take seven months continuously on the road to complete, all to raise funds for developing a safe haven for members of the armed forces. The ‘Head Up’ charity’s primary goal is to provide a residential retreat in the British countryside where soldiers past and present can go for some much-needed respite, allowing them to strengthen their mindset and mental health.
Deeply passionate about providing a non-militarised space where the Armed Forces can go to receive holistic and personalised treatment for their mental health.
Paul said: “While some psychological treatment is available, much is offered within military settings which can trigger further harm to those already in acute mental distress; I can relate to this as I’ve been there myself.”
As a soldier serving alongside Princes William and Harry in the same Regiment, Paul experienced many stressful events during his time on the front line, including being blown up twice. He understands the mental toll it can take on a soldier and is determined to provide help to those who need it and have helped so many others. “The need for better mental health support for the Armed Forces has never been higher. I’ve lost over twice as many comrades to suicide than I have to combat, despite doing four tours in Afghanistan and one in Iraq. That fact can’t be ignored, and we can’t sit by and let that continue.”
Paul trained for 12 months alongside world record holder Carla Molinaro in preparation for the challenge.
Paul added: “I can’t comprehend how hard this challenge is going to be. I know the sheer amount of miles to days is going to test me beyond limits, but the motivation comes from knowing all proceeds will make such a difference to the lives of people that need it most.”
As well as raising money for the charity, the run also aims to raise awareness and get people in each local area involved as much as possible. Many are joining Paul along the way for segments of the run, while others are simply offering him a nice warm meal and or offering a place to rest his head for the night which has included lodgings from a Lord, MPs, teachers, veterans and fishermen.
Hoping to raise towards the £3M needed to launch the safe haven, Paul’s challenge will end where it began – in Liverpool’s Anfield Stadium, during half time at a Liverpool Football Club home game.