365 days and 2,000 miles: Lockdown runs boost Bognor man’s mental health during Covid-19 pandemic

After running nearly 2,000 miles in a year, a Bognor Regis man is urging anyone struggling with their mental health to join him in pounding the pavements.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 4:53 pm

Rolls-Royce worker Dave Boddy completed 365 consecutive days of runs with a marathon on Sunday – and knocked half an hour off his personal best time.

The 37-year-old started to feel his mental health suffering as the country headed into lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic a year ago.

He said: “Running has been an excellent way to overcome anxiety and depression for me.

Dave Boddy has run nearly 2,000 miles since March 2020

“I found that my mood lifted once I started running and it completely removes you from your everyday life.”

Dave, who is originally from Hull, first experienced problems with his mental health after his daughter was stillborn 11 years ago.

He has run intermittently in years since, but got the bug once more last March and, with support of fiancée Kerry Williamson, he has not looked back.

He said: “I haven’t seen my family up in Hull for almost two years and this plays on my mind and running very much helps me with the various feelings we all go through when we are thinking of loved ones.

“The support and backing and good will messages have been overwhelming and really helped me along the way.

“I’m going to keep running every day but may allow myself a day off now and again at some point in the future.

“I would recommend exercise to anyone who is suffering with their mental health.

“Not everyone can go running obviously but even daily walks or other forms of exercise will improve the way they feel, or at least that has been my experience.”

Dave, who has covered 1,952 miles over the past year, has shared his passion with various running mates over the past 12 months.

Andy Miles, who joined him on Sunday, said: “We have amazing respect for Dave. No running clubs involved, just one man who kept his mental health and well-being under control throughout the last year.

“Dave decided to run again when the first lockdown hit us. Gentle miles at first, and then he built up his speed and distance.

“He smashed his own personal best times at 5k, 10k, and ten miles, and half-marathons, during his runs.

“Sunday, March 21, was his 365th consecutive day of running and he finished with a marathon and smashed half an hour off his previous best marathon time to finish in four hours, 45 minutes. Incredible stuff!”

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