Sussex Partnership’s ‘marathon man’ to start second free running club

A man who ran five marathons in five days raising thousands for NHS mental health services is starting his second free running club – after successfully taking runners who joined his first from 0-5k and completing Worthing Parkrun.

Ian Puttock, from Angmering, completed his amazing marathon challenge last summer raising more than £3,000 for Heads On, the official charity of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust where Ian works as Head of Project Management. He launched two free running clubs earlier this year and has successfully taken members from 0 to 5k and beyond.

Now he’s about to launch two new courses to help people who want to improve their running or start running  – both of which are free and open to all.

Ian said: “It’s been a joy to help support people on their own running journey with these two courses and I am excited about being able to launch two more courses.

“There is a link between running and improved mental health and the purpose of these two new courses is to help people who want to give running a go but maybe haven’t got a clue where to start, and those who do run but need or want some support to improve their running.

“Both of these courses are designed to provide people with the confidence to either start or continue their running in a safe and unintimidating environment.”

The running club will again be based at Worthing Leisure Centre and launches on, Friday, May 3 with two lunchtime sessions, one for beginners followed by one for improvers.

One Step at a Time is a 12-week course for beginners, 1pm to 1.45pm each Friday from Friday, May 3. People will be supported to slowly build up to running up to 5k.

Every Step Counts is a 12-week course, 12pm to 12.45pm each Friday from Friday, May 12 for people who would like to improve their times, or increase their distances from 5k to 10k, or 10K to ten miles.

A father of four, Ian started running 10 years ago when his wife suddenly died and is a great advocate of the positive impact running can have when it comes to mental health.

Ian said: “Running has become a large part of my life and along with my family has helped me get through some very difficult times. Losing my wife 11 years ago turned my world upside down by suddenly finding myself with four children to bring up on my own.

“Fortunately, I was lucky enough to meet someone else and it is with large thanks to my partner that she introduced me to the idea of going out a couple of times a week to run. This has definitely helped my own personal mental health.

Both Ian’s courses are hosted in conjunction with Sussex Recovery College and two peer trainers who have lived experience of mental health illness. 

One member of the first group said: “There is no doubt at all that my mental health is improved by running, and I have been really pleased to be part of the first Heads On Run Club. Generally before each session I feel tired and sluggy and usually quite stressed. By the end I feel positive again – every time. I also appreciate that it shakes up my running, shifting me out of my usual running routine. I like running as part of a group nd sharing the experience, and have loved my first time on a track.”

Another added: “What a great course.  Thank you for all the motivation and encouragement.  It made me see that I can achieve something no matter how difficult if I keep going and don’t give up.”

Visit www.sussexrecoverycollege.org.uk to book your place.