GP Andreas Erhardt has been working hard in training to be ready for the London Marathon on April 23.
The 56-year-old family doctor, who works in Hirwaun Medical Centre, admits he is not a natural runner.
But he was inspired to put on his running shoes when he read an account of how The Duchess and Duke of Cambridge and Prince Henry were backing a mental health charity ahead of this year’s marathon.
Dr Erhardt said: “The statement did strike a chord and reminded me of my ‘bucket list’ of things to do, which includes running a marathon.
“The idea of one day running a marathon actually goes back many years, to when I was a taxi driver in my then hometown in Germany.”
He set his target to raise £2,000 for the mental health charity MIND and has set up a Just Giving page for people who want to sponsor his run at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/AndreasRunsLondonMarathon2017
“One in four people in the UK suffer a mental health problem at some point in their lives that will affect their daily life, relationships or physical health. Mental health problems are the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK.
“As a GP I see patients with ill mental health every day, young and old. In my own family too, people have suffered ill mental health and required specialist help and support.
“Mind Cymru are active and campaigning to improve the mental health of everyone in Wales. Their aim is that ‘everyone with a mental health problem should be able to access excellent care and services’,” he said.
The GP is also registering for the One Small Change #FeelGreat campaign, launched by Cwm Taf University Health Board to encourage NHS staff to look after themselves.
“My challenge is to run further each week and meet my training targets in time for the Marathon,” he said.
His schedule is on course, despite spraining his ankle playing five-a-side, and he has run his first 24 miles, albeit with a break.
“So far I managed to stay on my legs for 5 ½ hours. I have always been intrigued by the idea of running a marathon distance of 40 km, which sound even more challenging than 26.2 miles to me.
“I haven’t caught the running bug yet, but I am competitive enough. I ran the Newport half marathon at the beginning of March because I wanted to get a feel for a mass start and my ability to stick to my running plan and not get carried away and burn out before the finish line.
A record 39,140 people finished the London Marathon in 2016.