Kevin Houchen, 42, took a break from managing the Ivy Leaf Club to tackle the Great Eastern Run in an impressive two hours and four minuets raising more than £850 for national mental health charity Richmond Fellowship.
Kevin’s wife Jo had a long history of anxiety and severe depression and was advised by doctors to give up work and challenge herself to do something fulfilling as Kevin explained:
“When the doctors advised Jo to take on a new challenge she knew immediately that she wanted to go to university.
“Richmond Fellowship helped her apply to do an English Language and Linguistics degree at Anglia Ruskin University which has been a huge turning point for her. Her marks are fantastic and she’s looking into using her degree to go into teaching.
“Being a mature student, she needed references to get into the university and Richmond Fellowship were a huge help in giving her the confidence as well as the references to complete her application.”
Kevin has always been active and was looking for a way to use his hobby of running to raise awareness for mental health and to support some of the organisations that helped Jo.
“I’ve always tried to keep myself fit and played a lot of rugby in the past. I’ve ran 10ks in the past, but this was my first half marathon and I wanted to do it for a good cause and raise some money.
“I had a chat with Jo and we’d thought of a few places I could raise money for as a lot of organisations have helped us overcome mental health problems. However, I was out running and happened to pass the Richmond Fellowship office in Huntingdon. I popped in for a chat about fundraising and the rest is history.”
The money Kevin raised will help support Richmond Fellowship in Cambridgeshire, where the charity provides employment, supported housing and youth services. Richmond fellowship is now part of Recovery Focus, a new expert group of charities inspiring individual recovery nationwide.
Steven Smith-Trask, managing director for Richmond Fellowship (south), said: “We’re all incredibly proud of Kevin’s fundraising efforts and grateful that he has chosen to support Richmond Fellowship and the work we do to make mental health recovery reality.
“Every person that selflessly dedicates their time to fundraising for us helps to make a real contribution to the lives of the people we support and our work to stamp out mental health stigma.”
Despite the grueling nature of the half marathon, Kevin has no plans to untie his running shoes any time soon and has already outlined a list of challenges for 2016.
He said: “My friends and I are taking on a few 10k races, a couple of half marathons and are applying for the Leicester or Nottingham full marathon which will be a huge challenge for us all.
“Being able to combine my running with raising awareness for mental health and supporting the charity that helped our family out so much is a great feeling; it certainly helps with those last few miles of a run.”