A former solider is approaching halfway in his attempted 5000 miles in seven months days around the coast of the UK to raise money for the charity Head Up.
Paul Minter, who served alongside Princes William and Harry in the same regiment and was blown up twice, has already raised more than £360,000 towards the charity he set up. His aim is to set up a retreat to help military personnel re-adapt to civilian life.
He began his quest near Liverpool on March 1 and is due to finish his mile clockwise run on October 2 back at Merseyside's Crosby Beach.
He is having to carry everything he needs in a backpack weighing 10kgs and with a 4ft flag attached. He is currently on the Kent coast and due to reach halfway this week in terms of the scheduled number of days.
Having trained for 12 months alongside elite ultra-runner Carla Molinaro, he said at the beginning of his challenge: "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.”
Regarding his £3m project to build a non-militarised space where the Armed Forces can go to receive holistic and personalised treatment for their mental health, he said: “While there is some psychological treatment available, much is offered within military settings,Paul which can trigger further harm to those already in acute mental distress; I can relate to this as I’ve been there myself.”
"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.”
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 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.