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Running was a wellbeing boost for William

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Running was a wellbeing boost for William

A MENTAL health activist from Dumfries has talked of how taking-on a charity running challenge improved his wellbeing and made him feel stronger.

William Gillon-Maxwell ran 100 kilometres in May, raising hundreds of pounds for Dumfries and Galloway Mental Health Association (DGMHA).

Last year, after experiencing challenges of his own, he set-up ‘Behind The Mask’, a website which provides guidance, support and advice to those battling mental health problems.

William, who works as an area manager and runs the site in his spare time, explained that he’d been a keen runner in the past but stopped whilst struggling.

But he said that starting to exercise again “has taken me out the other side of it”.

“It really helps me process and just having that ‘you time’ is so important,” he added, “so I thought why not pair the two together?

“I’d got to March or April and I wanted to try and keep raising awareness about mental health and I was looking at our region and saying ‘OK, well what charities do we have, what do they do and how do they support the community?’ and I was reading about Dumfries and Galloway Mental Health Association and the work they do throughout the region and I thought it’d be great to support them.

“I was running anything between five and ten kilometres and I ran three to four times a week so I would always try and have a rest day in between and I kept it very local.”

Comparing how his physical and mental state were at the end of the challenge compared with the beginning of May, William said it was “absolutely night and day”.

He added: “At the start of May I was apprehensive because I hadn’t been running properly for months, if not since the start of the first lockdown when I did a little bit. So you’re talking nearly a year that I hadn’t run. I had to build myself up – you can’t just go out and run 10k. By the end of it and certainly going into this month I feel stronger again.”

n Visit www.behindmask.co.uk to follow William’s blog.

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