Two-part film in which a group of ten unlikely runners living with different mental health issues are brought together by Nick Knowles to train for the 2017 London Marathon.
Browse content similar to Episode 1. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
A lot of people with mental health issues hide it so well.
You wear a mask, day-to-day.
Our mental health - invisible, little talked about,
and little understood.
People assume that depression is all about being sad, and it's not.
It's mostly just feeling absolutely nothing.
Just feeling completely hollow.
It's estimated one in four adults
will need professional help for mental health problems
at some stage of their life.
It's a massive issue.
Chances are, we all know someone who's suffering.
I don't want sympathy, I don't want empathy.
Just a bit of understanding.
I don't take any antidepressants.
I'm not in counselling or therapy or anything at the moment.
I want to find another coping mechanism
that would be able to work with me for the foreseeable future.
Now, ten volunteers have agreed to try something different...
-Here we go!
-A running programme.
Exercise CAN help with mental health issues.
This is going to give them the community, the structure.
It's going to give them the endorphins,
it's going to give them all these kind of positive factors.
You're convinced it can help mental health?
Most definitely. From personal experience.
I've set the volunteers,
each battling their own mental health problems,
the ultimate running challenge -
completing the 2017 London Marathon.
Nice and easy, guys. Nice and easy.
Alongside a team of experts,
I'll be there to help them reach the finish line.
-They'll be getting some special support
from the Royals whose campaign, Heads Together,
aims to change the way we talk about mental health.
The whole point of the campaign, with the marathon,
I think we really just want to reduce the stigma.
As a nation, we need to grip this.
Because talking about mental health is best for everybody.
It doesn't matter who you are.
You're the heroes, because you're standing out there,
very bravely, telling your stories.
You're very, very special.
I've just told, potentially, the future king of the country,
why I'm doing what I'm doing.
Accomplishing 26 gruelling miles
is not just a punishing physical undertaking,
but a mental one too.
I'm a failure, and I'm not going to be able to do it.
Putting one foot in front of the other,
every single day at the moment.
For these ten, the marathon challenge will be all the greater.
Some days I don't want to get out of bed.
Can we stop? I don't...
I can't be arsed to talk about this any more.
And I'll be at hand to help them through.
-Do you want a hug?
You have no idea how amazing I think you are, just for surviving.
If they can succeed...
The endorphins are kicking in!
..it could change their lives forever.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Across the country,
ten volunteers are about to embark on the challenge of their lives.
How many days are you going for?
I'm quite a determined kind of person.
I think I've had to be for the last four years,
and I am determined to do this.
You know, I also understand that I'm not alone in this whole...
sort of lonely world at times, which it is - a very lonely world
when you're suffering with things that people don't always understand.
So I've got some trousers, some tops,
obviously my running shoes.
And, that's it.
I don't know, I don't want to start getting my underwear out!
For some, just travelling 200 miles to the training camp
will be a huge challenge.
You wouldn't know,
unless you actually knew me,
that there was anything wrong.
You've got to understand, inside, I'm broken.
Steve experiences severe anxiety caused by traumatic events.
He avoids busy public places,
and hasn't braved a long train journey for 15 years.
Right now, I'm sweating.
My anxiety is starting just a little bit.
And I haven't even got through the door.
We've invited our ten volunteers to a two-day training camp
at Bisham Abbey in Buckinghamshire,
one of Sport England's National Sports Centres.
It's the first time we're all going to meet.
I'm really excited.
I'm really excited to meet the people
who are going to be involved in this project.
It's a big, ambitious project.
I'm interested to see how many actually turn up,
and get into the room.
I know for a lot of people
with mental health issues,
even walking into a room of people
and starting out on a project like this is a big deal.
-Hi, nice to meet you, I'm George.
-Hello, George. I'm Nick.
How are you? Nervous?
-I am, a bit.
-Yeah, I think I'm more excited,
a bit apprehensive rather than nervous.
How are you?
-A bit nervous?
Well done for actual being in the room.
-Can we get you a cup of tea or a cup...
a glass of water or...
I'll be all right in just a minute, just give me five seconds.
Of course I can.
Let me just... I'll pour a cup of water anyway.
It's overwhelming, do you know what I mean?
-It's a lot for me to take on.
Yeah, nice to meet you.
The volunteers have a range of mental health conditions...
That's how everyone felt coming in the door.
Hi, I'm Rhian.
..and different levels of physical ability.
Jake is one of the fittest.
Last year, during a period of deep depression,
he found the benefit of hiking
and decided to undertake a six-month solo walking challenge
to raise awareness about mental health.
Depression is something that I've kind of lived with
for longer than I was willing to admit.
It took for me to get really bad...
..to actually think, "Right, I'm struggling here.
"I really need some help."
I'm glad it happened to me because it's made me realise
what other people live with,
and a lot of people don't see any way out,
and they don't realise that other people go through that.
Feeling, feeling completely alone, when you feel like that is...
It's, you know, it's hell.
Jake's passion to break down the stigma
surrounding mental health problems
has brought him here today.
Hello. Jake? Here's a man, look,
who instantly looks like he's come ready for running.
How are you? Cup of tea, water?
-I'd love a tea, please.
-Any particular type? Green tea or anything like that?
Nick Knowles is making me a cup of tea!
Just breakfast tea, if they've got one.
Now I have to say, you're quite ahead of the game with this,
cos you've gone and beasted yourself all over the country,
-Yeah, well I kind of had a bit of a...
Well, a meltdown, I suppose,
is the word that is probably the most accurate.
I decided to walk around the whole of Great Britain.
As soon as I realised that I wanted to kind of give...
give my condition some purpose, and give my life some direction,
I found it easier to talk about,
and now I feel like it doesn't have to be a big, horrible...
"Sit down. We need to really discuss this."
It can be a casual conversation.
I really like that,
and I really like that people are starting to wake up to that.
I know first-hand the benefits of
exercise for mental health.
I have a form of OCD, and it's always helped me.
I'm just game because I want to try something
that's a different coping strategy to what I use already.
I have bad coping strategies.
-Drink and gamble.
Is that where you go with it?
Yeah, when I'm really bad, yeah.
The way I cope, really, is just not stopping.
So, I'm worried sometimes I'm going to burn myself out
cos I get up and I don't stop all day,
because I think when you stop,
sometimes that's when you think about it.
I very rarely let myself cry because I think if you cry,
you won't stop, and you don't want to fall into that hole
and not be able to get out of it. You cling on to the edge, really,
as long as you possibly can, really.
Rhian's mental health issues
started five years ago,
after she suffered the sudden,
tragic loss of her one-year old son George from pneumonia.
He was rushed to the local hospital, and despite staff's efforts,
and they were amazing members of staff, he died.
And the effect that had on myself, my children,
my husband and our family was just phenomenal, really.
And a few days after losing my son, my husband,
who was just completely traumatised by what had happened, you know,
blamed himself for what had happened,
just walked out of the house and never came home.
Five days after losing their son and consumed by grief,
Rhian's husband Paul took his own life.
When I heard that he'd also passed away...
..my life as I knew it was over.
Me, as a person, changed forever.
So for me, PTSD has been a huge thing that I've had to carry.
The flashbacks keep me awake at night.
I'm anxious just leaving the house.
If I hear a car outside in the street,
I get straight up and look through the window,
because for me, it's the police and something's happened,
and they've come back to tell me someone's died.
The effect it has on you as a person, you know,
I used to be very bubbly and confident,
but actually inside, I feel...
I feel dead myself.
I think the fact that you're actually all here,
and you've all made it to the start line,
effectively, is a hell of a thing.
Because that first step is the toughest step.
Anybody feeling really uncomfortable at this point?
All right? Good.
The runners will be fully supported with access to a psychologist,
two dedicated trainers, and a nutritionist.
Charlie and Chevy are your running coaches.
Both Charlie and Chevy have experienced
mental health issues of their own,
and now help others to use running as a coping mechanism.
My job is to make you fall in love with the art of moving forward.
The marathon is not a distance to be scared of.
It seems like it's a really long way.
It is a long way!
It's not a long way. It's not a long way.
It really is not a long way,
and I think you kind of have to go into it just being like...
I'm just going on a journey, I'm just going on this adventure.
And also, it's a journey you're going to undertake
in small segments, and before you know, you're kind of marathon-ready.
My background is not too dissimilar to some people in this room,
so for me, it was a tool that really changed my life.
So that's why I'm really passionate about this project and you guys.
20 weeks from now, you're going to be marathon-ready.
Look at these faces, people's faces!
-OK, shall we start off down
the long road towards the marathon, then? Ready?
My daughter is really excited.
Has a lot of faith in me.
My son doesn't think I'm going to be able to do it
because I'm too slow, but we'll see.
Hopefully, I'll prove him wrong and they'll be there
at the finish line to be proud of me.
My fitness is better now than it's been for a long time,
cos of the walking.
And running is just faster walking, isn't it?
I hate running. Yeah.
Yeah, I absolutely hate it.
Yeah, I'd just rather stay at home, have a cup of tea.
I've never experienced anything like this, so...
it's kind of like, what do I do? What do I say?
Who am I supposed to look at?
Who am I supposed to talk to?
That kind of thing. And it's like...
So here we are, morning of the first boot camp.
Two days ahead of us, what have you got planned for our ten?
For us to get to know them.
And just get a feel for how we can support them moving forward.
This is going to give them, you know, the community,
it's going to give them structure,
it's going to give them the endorphins,
it's going to give them all these kind of positive factors.
It's going to give them a coping mechanism.
-But you're convinced it can help mental health?
From personal experience, I know it works.
If people stick with it, we will see a change?
Most definitely. Running and mental health are really good companions.
So how long is this first run you're going to take them on?
2K, just under, so we're just going to do a few loops,
keep it close to home.
Just get them to kind of look out for each other a little bit,
and just get them moving.
None of them chose to jog over here, did they?
Tells me a lot!
Right, let's get in a circle. Let's go.
Even on a short run, injury is a possibility.
We'll just start running on the spot, guys.
Nice and gently.
So learning how to warm up properly is the first invaluable lesson.
I'm just going to ask you to bring your feet up a little bit higher,
so we're just going to turn it up, pull them up a little bit...
And you're probably asking yourself the question that they asked.
Why aren't I running the marathon?
Because that's my technique.
Right, let's go. Nice and easy.
Let's keep it nice and together.
Don't trip over!
I don't like being at the front,
I've set unrealistic expectations for myself!
Here's the first run for them.
First chance to get their running legs on.
From this small acorn, the giant oak of a full marathon will emerge
within the next 140-odd days...
Where's Steve? Come on, Steve.
You OK? Right, cool.
So, as we're going, most important thing,
you just keep moving yourself forward and don't panic.
Got to relax as well.
In his 20s, Steve served in the RAF,
but during this time he was involved in a fatal road accident
which left him battling severe anxiety,
low self-esteem and flashbacks,
problems often labelled as PTSD -
post-traumatic stress disorder.
Some days I don't want to get out of bed.
I go to bed on a night-time, I sleep two hours,
then I'm awake all night.
And even when I've had those two hours' sleep, I've been dreaming.
I should have said nightmares, flashbacks,
then I try to settle, and I can't
because my brain won't let me calm down.
It won't settle down.
For me, going out's not easy.
Totally hate supermarkets.
When they're too busy, heart starts pounding.
Can't breathe. Feel like I'm going to die.
uneasy, just want to run away, be out the way, get out the way.
I'm forcing myself to do it because I need...
..to get a grip.
I can't keep running away, I've got to face up to certain things,
I've got to be able to do them. Otherwise I'm going to have...
a dull life.
I feel like I should slow down and wait for Steve.
Shall we jog back to him?
And jog WITH him, maybe?
I'm doing that.
Is this you guys dropping back to scoop us up?
-Steve, we're coming back!
-Thank you. All the way round us, please?
And catch up. Yes, thank you.
We are not leaving Steve behind.
Definitely not. Definitely, definitely not. Good!
Everyone here has their own motivation
for wanting to run the marathon.
This is good, people.
We are liking all of this!
Shereece first sank into a depression at school,
when she was severely bullied.
And after giving birth to her first child, Naima,
she suffered with postnatal depression.
I definitely needed to learn
what I was going through,
because it was new to me,
because growing up in the house that I grew up in,
everyone likes positivity.
And I think it's a Caribbean thing as well?
My culture doesn't like to...
..acknowledge it. It's almost like bad vibes, in a way,
and it's almost like if you speak about it,
you're bringing it down on yourself.
The word "can't" doesn't exist in this household,
so I grew up in that kind of household
where everything had to be strong.
That's why I'm doing this, in a way,
because I feel like even for my kids,
I feel like if I get my generation understanding it,
it can help the next generation.
Lead crew in!
HE WHISTLES AND APPLAUDS
-How are we feeling?
Good. I really enjoyed that.
Warmed up a little bit, at least!
Yeah. All the way in, all the way in, all the way in, all the way...
We always run it all the way! Brilliant! Nice one, people.
-Well done, guys.
-When he comes in, big noise, big energy, yeah?
From about now...
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
More noise, more noise, more noise, more noise.
More noise, more noise, more noise, more noise.
Lovely. Nice one, my friend.
It's clear that the physical challenge is going to be greater
for some than others.
He's telling me that his body is like a Lamborghini
that hasn't been used for a while!
Quick change of oil, it'll be all back in shape, won't it?
To have any chance of completing the marathon,
they must embrace a carefully designed programme
involving technical training.
Now, what I want you to try and do,
without breaking at the hips,
is just lean forward.
Strength and mobility work.
Squeeze your bum cheeks, tighten up that core as tightly as possible.
They need to learn to look after their muscles properly...
I want you to find the knots and start working your way up...
Here we go, find the knots, enjoy it!
..and maintain a healthy diet under the guidance of nutritionist, Laura.
Do you have any, sort of, overall concerns,
at this point, about nutrition?
Not really. I think I could eat a lot better.
A lot better, really.
OK. Why don't we just sort of walk through what a typical day is like,
starting with breakfast?
So I normally skip breakfast.
OK, no breakfast...
Then some days I'd go with no food then until about tea-time.
It's really difficult, like, when I was married
and had just a family, it just was so much easier.
I'm going to get emotional.
Yeah, I had a purpose to cook in the evenings and things, and now...
I just sort the kids out and make sure they're OK, and then I...
I'll just eat whatever.
Toast some nights, I've just lost...
It's more the fact I've just lost interest, more than anything.
But I know to do the marathon,
I'm going to have to improve...
improve that, and start looking after myself.
I'm not very good at that. I can't believe I'm getting upset.
-I never get upset.
You're an afterthought to yourself,
after you've taken care of the kids and got them ready for bed,
-and everything else.
There are things that we can do, and we'll work together.
You're not alone in this.
-Sorry. I never get upset.
It's just really hard, you know, I had a family of five,
we used to sit round the table as a family to eat, and I...
The children sit on their own and I sit at the table,
but I struggle to eat with them
because you miss who used to be round the table as well.
So it's a bit of an avoidance thing, I think, as well.
-But, yeah, it's time to change things, you know?
If I'm going to get fitter, I need to get healthier all around.
All right, I'm going to give you a hug...
-I'm so sorry, for getting upset.
-No, it's OK, it's OK.
It's all right.
We'll ALL be on hand throughout the entire process to provide support,
support we're also hoping the runners will find from each other.
The boot camp isn't just about exercise,
it's about allowing everyone a space to talk about the issues they face.
One of my bones of contention,
I don't know how else you'd phrase it, but, like...
Even just, like, the phrase "mental health," I hate it,
because it's got the word "mental" in it.
People assume that you're mental,
and there's something really, really wrong with you,
when it's not that.
It's just the fact that you've got this thing, and it's like...
You're all right,
you struggle and that, but you're not crazy.
You know, I go see a therapist,
and I've got a supportive family and I go,
and I have whatever medication I'm on,
so, like, instead of being like that all the time,
I'm just a bit like that,
and sometimes it's a bit like that...
I think it's more accepted if it's a woman,
I think for men you lot still have to man up.
It's the stigma, with guys, I think, like,
you don't want to be labelled a downer
in your group, or whatever.
Yeah, that's the toughest thing about dealing with depression,
it's like I just went in on myself,
like, I didn't want to leave the house.
Like, if I was out, I wouldn't want
to talk to anybody, I'd just be...
To the outside world, I was just really moody.
I appear very confident when I'm out,
and I appear to be very much the kind of...
not life and soul person, but extremely present.
I laugh a lot, and I avoid any social situation
when I'm feeling depressed
because I don't want that image of myself to be compromised.
Back at the training camp,
the other runners have been sharing their stories.
It's been a long day, it's been good, meeting everyone.
I think it's been far better than I imagined.
I was really nervous but, actually, we've just gelled really quickly.
It's been more emotional than I thought.
I've had a few tears
which is something I don't often do.
Emotions have been running high all day.
Shereece has been reflecting on her teenage depression...
..and it's brought on a full-blown panic attack.
SHE BREATHES DEEPLY
Do you want me to lift you up?
I think you just need some air...
Chevy, who is trained to deal with situations like this, is called.
Look at me. Look at me.
Look at me. Dial into me, right?
Look at me.
Deep breaths. You can do this, all right?
In through your nose.
Shall we go for a bit of a walk? Shall we get some fresh air?
Come on, come and get some fresh air for two secs.
-Do you want an extra jacket?
-There you go.
-I was bullied quite a lot at school.
I think some of those girls would come to school for me, like...
It wasn't for education, it was just to start on me again and, like...
I didn't do anything about it because I was scared.
And I really hope that I pass the finish line because if I do...
If I do, it just...
Do you know what? You don't need to think about the finish line yet.
Your next step is coming tomorrow morning.
Do you want a hug?
You don't know what's going on in someone else's life.
And you won't know until they tell you.
And that's why we,
as people that want to spread
awareness of mental health problems,
want to do this.
Because I always felt that I didn't deserve
to complain about my mental health
and I didn't deserve to have a voice,
but everyone deserves to have a voice
and to speak out without judgment
and without fear.
And without feeling ashamed of how I feel.
It's a very early start for everyone.
-Right, off we go.
-All right, we're rolling, people.
Here we go.
Just over there, round to the left, follow the line.
And thankfully, after yesterday's emotionally charged day,
we still have a full house.
Nice and easy.
Almost worth getting out of bed at six.
Right, round to the left. Nice and easy.
It's very difficult to know whether in five months' time
when they run the marathon,
I'll be waving goodbye to the same number of people
setting out on the marathon
as we are seeing set off this morning. I hope so.
Training for the London Marathon is tough,
but whilst battling serious mental health problems,
it's an epic challenge.
Right then, you can turn around, pick your friend up, off you go.
If they CAN embrace the exercise routine...
Go on, Steve.
..they could benefit from the release of endorphins,
which could calm anxiety,
lift depression and ultimately help them gain control of their minds
as well as their bodies.
I hope we can get them all to the start line.
I hope we get them all to the finish.
But we have to give them the space to be able to not do it
without feeling like they are failing at the same time.
It's that really tricky balance to meet.
Encourage them to go for it and let them know that they CAN go for it,
without making it a thing of failure
if they don't get to the start line of the marathon.
At the end of the day, we are a team.
I really feel like that. It sounds really cheesy,
and just sort of contrived after the first day to say that.
But it does. That's what it feels like.
Let's do it.
Yeah, I really hope we can all pull together and finish the marathon.
We can be ourselves, we can talk about things,
and everyone understands,
which, again, has really helped me the last couple of days.
And already I can feel within 24 hours just that little bit of weight
being lifted, so who knows?
By April, you know, I'll be running marathons.
-Really well done, people.
The two days have gone better than we could have wished for.
There's a real sense of optimism in the air.
It's really, really exciting to see you lot all smiling
and looking back at me the way you are at the moment.
You're already different people
from the people that I think walked in yesterday morning.
The positivity has been really, really admirable
and, actually, for me, quite exciting.
To see you all actually bonding with each other,
and being supportive of each other, and that's what it's got to be.
It's got to be a team going forward.
It's going to be tough. There's going to be great times,
there's going to be low times, but you actually,
with the help of the other people around you,
hopefully, will be able to dig yourselves out of those low times.
All of your coaches here are going to be available to you.
You can contact them whenever you want.
-You're there for them, right?
-Our time is your time.
We're in this with you. OK?
-Ready to go back home and start running?
I know it's a big challenge, it's not easy,
and I know it's going to get harder,
but I've just got to get my mind around it,
because I'm expecting it to get more difficult.
When I go home, I'll be out.
I'm already planning routes in my head,
where to go, where the best places to run to, like,
how far the nearest cafe is -
so I can run as far as the cafe and have a coffee and then run home.
Talk about getting up and flying away,
actually, they're leaving here with a new enthusiasm, hopefully,
and feeling more enthused about the process.
All ten are still on board, which is no mean feat,
and are going out there, apparently,
determined to carry on with their training.
It's my job to help spur them to the start line.
I've come to Kensington Palace to find out from Prince William
why he wants to encourage us all to talk about our mental health.
Morning, Your Royal Highness.
Heads Together, set up by the Royals,
is the main charity for this year's London Marathon,
and OUR runners will be part of their team.
Royal support could be the extra encouragement they need.
We have gathered together ten people
who suffer very different mental health issues,
and brought them together to try and use the marathon,
which is obviously...
..your key event this year, I suppose.
And you're running it as well, Nick, which is great news.
Well, yeah... It's interesting you should talk of that.
I'm not running it, but the reason I'm not running it
is not just because I don't want to do the training.
I think, actually, the programme that we're making and going forward
is not about me, it's about them.
I want them to be the centre of it, and I'm going to keep arguing that!
It's a battle I'm losing, at the moment.
One in four people, they say now, suffer bad mental health.
That's a huge chunk of your population.
Is your interest
looking forward towards the sort of life of duty and responsibility
that obviously is in front of you,
or as a parent of two young children
who have a world to grow into?
I think, from my personal point of view, it's the emotional side.
I hate seeing people in an emotional or mental torment.
You know, you can really see it sometimes, and it's really sad,
because it takes you down a very, very different path in life.
The whole point of the campaign, with the marathon,
I think, we really just want to reduce the stigma.
We want people to talk about mental health like it's perfectly normal.
Is it something that you have to control or look at?
I mean, you've got a lot ahead of you, a lot of responsibility,
and the whole world... You know, people with paranoia
-think the whole world's watching them and judging them.
Yeah, I can see where that links in.
But, no, I mean I'm very lucky,
I've got a good support network around me.
For those who don't have that network,
that's where the first cracks start to appear.
And it must be incredibly isolating, and it's really, really - I find -
very sad and a very depressing state, that we're in this condition.
-It should be easily changed.
-It should be, absolutely.
Would you consider coming and joining in?
-What, doing the marathon?
No, I was suggesting just a short training run.
-And actually come and meet the guys...
-..and have a bit of a run with them.
-I'd love to.
I think that would help them enormously.
-Excellent, see you in shorts.
-That's a thought, isn't it?!
-Thank you very much.
-Really good to see you again, thanks.
I mean, he's going to be king one day
and you can see why he's engaged
and see why it's so important that we start talking about it
and why those who don't suffer mental health issues
need to understand how it works,
so that we can identify it and we can help those that do.
To break the runners into the marathon training schedule,
Chevy has devised specific exercise plans.
For the more experienced, like Sam, he's targeting bad habits.
Bend the knees, pull. Good. Pull, good.
I've been running for years,
but I've never really paid much attention to my technique,
so it's just completely rewiring how I think about everything.
For Jake, who's used to hiking,
it's a matter of retraining key muscles.
We squat well, we'll run well.
Look at me, come on, focus, right? Focus, focus, get your breath.
And for Shereece, who's prone to panic attacks...
You're all right, you're all right.
..the first hurdle is becoming master of her breath.
It's psychological, and we have to get past that.
It's more in the mind than it is her lungs not being able to deal
with what I'm kind of presenting her with.
At the moment we're just learning, and that's what this is about.
How are they adapting to training,
and what do we need to do to support them?
So, I want you to try and spend as much of your day
down in the squat position as possible.
Sit down, sit down, sit lower, you've got it in you.
Come on, that's it, good.
Up you get.
-Hang out with him.
I'm not going to lie to myself,
I'm finding it a little bit difficult at the moment.
My body's like in shock, like, "Oh, God, what are you doing to me?!"
So I need to keep doing it, so my body can get used to it,
and then it can feel easy.
I don't know if my mind power will take me there,
but right now I know that I need to do a lot more.
That was really hard.
And back up again.
I feel like I'm going to be sick.
Stay up, upright, stay upright.
Get air in your lungs, air in your lungs, air in your lungs.
There's one runner I'm particularly concerned about - Rhian.
Her anxiety is so strong, she can't go running on her own,
and this could make it difficult for her to train enough.
Rhian plainly has the ability to present a calm and controlled face
to the world.
I imagine you have to in order to get by.
And you wouldn't know the trauma she's been through.
I don't know how she's come through to this point.
It's every parent's worst nightmare,
and then to actually have the loss of your partner,
whilst you're trying to deal with the ultimate loss as a parent,
I can't imagine that there's many people in the country
that have suffered the double loss she has.
-How are you?
-I'm good, how are you?
-Lovely to see you.
-Lovely to see you, welcome to Wales.
I was just looking at your lovely countryside right outside your door.
-I know, it is lovely.
-You in your running kit?
-Are you going out?
-Well, do you fancy it?
-It won't go far.
-You don't like going running on your own, do you?
-Have you got anyone to go with?
No, not today.
Come on, no pressure.
Only a little one, and it's beautiful, it's not raining.
All right, I'll get my stuff out the car,
as long as you don't tell anybody else, I'll go and get my stuff.
-I'll be back in two seconds.
-Cool, OK, brill.
Are we going a lot slower for my benefit?
No, gosh, I wouldn't go much faster than this.
-This is about the right speed for you, is it?
-Yeah, no, I'm not fast.
I'm absolutely loving it, though.
I've really started getting a bit of a bug.
-Really, really, are you getting into it?
-Yeah, I am, yeah.
I'm not surprised when you... Look at it, it's beautiful.
-I know, it is.
-What a great place to enjoy running.
-Do you think it's helping with your mental health?
The last few months,
I've had to start looking at myself a little bit
and I'm just finding that the running
is giving me a little bit of confidence and self-esteem
-as well, and improved that.
I was not expecting this, and I have to tell you...
..I would not have had Parmesan cheese for lunch...
-..if I'd have known.
That's been a very long time since I've done that.
Can I get a glass of water, please? THEY LAUGH
Running seems to be helping Rhian,
but I'm wondering how her loss has been affecting her
for the last five years.
-Can I talk to you about things or not? Because it's up to you.
The last few months, I've done a lot of talking about it,
but bad things happened to me.
And I can't let anything else bad happen to me.
You know... And I feel, I bring it on myself.
It's not for me to really say,
but how can you possibly have brought on yourself what happened?
I think as a mum...
..when your child dies in front of you, with no warning...
..I should have known. I should have known he was ill.
I should have taken him to the doctors,
I should have seen that there were symptoms, and I didn't.
And one minute he was crawling, and the next minute he was dead.
Has anyone said to you that it would have been possible
for you to have known?
No, they say the opposite.
But it doesn't matter.
It doesn't matter how many times you say that to me.
I'm the same with my husband.
You know, he was here one minute,
the next minute he walked out and he never came home.
You know, and he died five days after my little boy.
He couldn't cope with what had happened, and...
..I wasn't there for him.
You know, I didn't see any reason that he wouldn't come home,
and I should have known.
And I should have been there for him,
and I should have been there for George,
because that's actually how I feel.
Until, literally, the last couple of months.
And what's changed in the last couple of months?
Facing it. The last few months I've faced what's happened,
started running, you know, getting a routine...
..eating better, cutting out the alcohol
and just changing my whole way that I see life
has really made a difference.
I still feel very worthless and useless.
I don't think I could have done what you've done.
I swear to God, I couldn't have done what you've done.
I just don't...
Children die, sadly, and there's nothing you can do,
and my little boy was taken, and I'll never understand why.
My husband should be here today, he should be here with me,
and he should be there for my kids.
I know, but it wasn't your fault.
You have no idea how...
..how amazing I think you are and other people think you are,
just for surviving the last couple of years.
It's extraordinary that you kept going.
It's extraordinary that you manage on a day-to-day basis.
Even more extraordinary that you took on this challenge as well,
that you're considering opening up and talking to people.
These are all extraordinary things.
Your experiences are never going to go away.
You're never going to not have had the loss you've had.
I don't want them to go away, in a way, sometimes. I want to remember.
And I still want...
But I just don't want it to eat me away and I do want to look forward.
I do want a life in front of me.
And the running... When you're running,
you feel sometimes you're running towards a good new life.
It sounds a bit corny.
And you're leaving everything behind you,
and that's how I see, now, 2017 being.
I want it to be that -
the transition between then and now, and the future, really.
I'm honestly confused, or I'm in a quandary,
how you convey to someone like Rhian that she is truly an amazing person.
She understands, she knows why she should think differently,
but she doesn't.
And it's just...
..heartbreaking, truly heartbreaking.
It's a new year
and to keep on schedule for the 2017 London Marathon,
the runners need to hit various milestones.
So why are we here and what are we running?
I say we, I'm still not joining in, by the way.
-Not convinced yet?
-I haven't got the footwear.
I couldn't find the right footwear, that was the thing.
Today we're going to do a cheeky little 6K along the front,
get them moving again and say,
right, Christmas is there, we're all feeling a little bit tired,
but do you know what? We're in it now.
-How was your running over Christmas?
-It didn't happen.
-Speaking for you...
-Yeah, he's been out.
We've invited all ten runners.
Five have made it.
Does anyone else feel strange that there's only half of us here?
-It's not a bad turnout.
-It's all right. All the best ones are here.
Jake recently moved back to Brighton after spending the last six months
living at home with his mum,
following a severe bout of depression.
Feels like there's too much water in there.
It's like nearly porridge, isn't it?
Jake's very funny and he loves people
and he's usually very comfortable in his own skin, very sociable.
But the time that I knew that he really wasn't well was when he was
telling me he was getting anxious socially and he was starting to say,
I think it was really hard for him to say it,
but he was saying that he didn't feel safe, which really worried me.
So he just said, "I think I need to come home.
"Is it all right if I come home?"
Which of course it is. You never say no to a child
if they want to come home, no matter how big and old and ugly they are.
-So how are you doing now? Are you managing?
-I'm all right.
Yeah, I'm doing all right.
Coming back to Brighton has obviously brought up
a few things for me because I felt really anxious
that everyone knew all the stuff that I'd been going through
when I was here before.
But then I felt better because no-one was any different with me.
That was really reassuring.
Yeah, I feel all right.
I don't feel as great as I did when I was on the walk. I felt...
I was just relentlessly happy when I was doing that walk
and it was because I had purpose, and it was sunny,
and I had the exercise, and I had all that.
And I'm back into work now, which is nice as well, I suppose.
I kind of feel like...
Are you saying you're happy
when you're actually in flux at the moment?
I am a little bit in flux, yeah.
Yeah, I suppose I am.
I'm not at the moment, but I feel like it's in the mail, you know?
I feel like at some point in the near future
I will have a shit day or a shit week.
I can feel it coming, and I think it's because...
Well, I don't know why it is, really.
And do you think you have the coping mechanisms now to deal with it
-when that day turns up or are you wary of it?
-I think so.
-A bit of both.
The thing with depression is, like, logic,
you can't apply logic to anything.
You can tell yourself that it's just a depression.
You can tell yourself, "It's because of this."
You can work it all out to the nth
and you still feel like shit, so it's like...
I accept that it's part of me now
and that's going to make it easier for me to deal with.
I think, whenever I do start feeling like crap,
all I've got to do is get in touch with this lot.
Everyone's been on it straightaway. Just like, "Anything we can do.
"We're all here for you. We all love you."
It's genuine. It's really nice that it's genuine.
And I really feel that. I think we all feel that.
Every now and again somebody says something to you that you go,
"I really understand that."
Today, when Jake said,
"I don't feel depressed today
"but I feel like it's in the mail on its way to me."
I understand that. I understand what he means.
That gives me an insight into how he feels and how people feel
if they're suffering depression.
It's like a cloud on the horizon that's coming your way.
You just don't know when it's going to hit.
As we go, what we're trying to do is discover our pace.
I wondered whether I had enough knowledge
to talk to these people about the difficulties they face.
Whereas it becomes clearer and clearer to me that...
just listening is the key.
Keep going. All you've got to do is stay on my shoulder.
That's the way forward -
if you can learn to listen and encourage people to talk
and not be judgmental, and not go in with preconceptions,
you'll be able to help your loved ones a lot more.
I've got a shooting pain in my calf at the moment.
But we're walking and it feels good walking.
I have had a bit of a cry...
..cos I feel like a failure.
-Which we've discussed?
-Which we've discussed. I'm not, cos I'm here.
Almost there, people, we are almost done.
Here we go. Here they come.
That's us. Here we are.
-Nice one, man.
-Well done. Lovely.
Good. How does that feel?
You're all looking incredibly fresh and happy and smiley.
You guys are really good. I'm really happy.
I run with a lot of people.
I've run with a lot of people over the last ten years
and for people who are just starting out on your journey,
it was good.
Good. Well done.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah.
Mel has picked up a minor injury,
but she's completed the six-kilometre landmark
that all the runners need to achieve at this stage.
But I am concerned about the others who haven't made it today.
Shereece has been feeling low,
and I'm keen to find out if there's anything we can do to help.
How are you doing?
I'm all right. I'm just a bit deflated because I'm not well.
And I want to cancel a lot of things.
I didn't even want to run. I haven't even checked my e-mails.
I haven't checked anything. I just needed to kind of live under a rock.
If one thing has not gone right or if I feel this way...
..I guess I tend to just let it just ruin everything else.
-Can we get...?
Obviously, we have a psychologist that's attached to the programme.
Can we get him to have a chat with you? Would that help?
Or would you find that, again, too much pressure?
I feel a bit disappointed that I couldn't cheer up myself by myself.
-Kind of thing.
-That's a lot of pressure to put on yourself, though.
Yeah, I just feel like...
Am I going down in that circle again if I ask somebody for help?
Getting help from people is not a weakness.
If you were running now and you developed a tight calf muscle
you'd go and see a masseur who would massage it out
and get it moving again, so that it could repair and you carry on.
-So at the moment you're in a situation
where you're not feeling great
and so you talk to somebody who knows how to help you with that
until you're feeling good again and then you don't need it.
It's only like a massage, it's just a massage for your head, isn't it?
I just want to give you the best opportunity
to find a way through this.
If you promise not to see it as failure,
I'll get somebody to come and have a chat
-and see if we can sort something out.
-You'll get there. You'll be all right.
She's got so much on her plate at the moment.
Really, really tough. She's felt ill and then she's not sleeping.
And then she's got the pressure of looking after the children.
She's worried about letting people down.
And it's amazing that she still thinks it's letting herself down
if she can't deal with it herself.
Still doesn't want to ask someone for help,
someone professional for help.
You've got to change that for everybody.
Somehow we've got to make it OK,
rather than feeling that you've let yourself down
because you've asked for help.
On top of battling their mental health problems,
training must keep to schedule
to have any chance of completing the London Marathon.
It's not for playing. Get off it!
As they head towards the next milestone, the 10K,
some of the runners are already seeing the benefits.
-Faster now, isn't it?
-There you go!
Keep going, keep going.
You're doing really well, really well.
And Rhian has achieved a huge personal victory,
overcoming her anxiety enough to start to run on her own.
I did it. I absolutely loved it.
Lots of thinking time. I listened to my music.
A few little threats. Every dog I saw, I thought was going to bite me.
Every man and lady in a mac was going to stab me.
But I did it. I'm just so chuffed.
I'm quite knackered cos I ran so fast through the woods
in case someone came out and attacked me, but all is good.
That's good. Pull the heels up. Heels, heels, heels.
Chevy is keeping a close eye on all the runners.
-He's like this every day, you know.
-Right, go, band, hip opener
But for the last week, Jake has been avoiding his calls.
Yeah, I'm not running today.
I'm feeling a little bit vulnerable and I'm feeling...
..feeling guilty about nothing.
And mostly just feeling absolutely nothing.
Just feeling completely hollow and just like a vessel.
People assume that depression is all about being sad but it's not.
It's frustrating because it feels like it's a waste of time
to feel like this.
It feels like, "What is the point?"
Can we stop? I can't be arsed to talk about this any more.
We're two months into training and the 10K is just around the corner.
But for one runner the marathon regime is proving too much.
Beset by injury and battling his anxiety,
Steve has decided the marathon isn't for him.
But he's keen to build on the progress he's made.
How are you feeling about the fact
that you're not going to be lining up to run the London Marathon now?
-If I'm seriously honest?
-A little bit of relief.
-Because I didn't have to go
and deal with the massive crowds of people
stood at the starting line, while I am.
Cos, obviously, that's a big issue.
How much physical versus mental do you think it's been?
I don't know.
I really find it difficult sometimes to put it into words
how much things affect me and how much things hurt...
..without getting myself upset...
..because I do. Sorry, I need a minute.
It's all right. Have a minute.
And one thing that really rings for me
is I remember seeing you at training camp one,
-but you did it, right?
That's showing that you have the mental strength
to overcome a mental barrier.
Yeah. I am making small steps to deal with stuff and change things.
It's getting you to explore things in different ways.
So, for example, walking for you and getting some fresh air, I think,
-is the first point of call.
-Reach out to a walking group.
-Just do it, Steve.
In order to get on and get myself back to where I should be,
I've got to take things...
new challenges, and do them,
otherwise I'm never going to get anywhere.
So it's more for me than anything.
You know, I've got to really do it.
Cheers. Thanks for coming down today. I appreciate it.
We'll keep in touch with Steve and check on his progress.
For the remaining runners, there's the task of completing 10km.
It's a walk in the park for Sam and George.
But for the rest of them, it's a daunting challenge.
I just want to get it over and done with, really.
I'm not thinking about how long it's going to take me.
It's just about getting that distance done.
Quarter of a marathon, I will feel epic.
And it will be my personal best.
The collective will to succeed has encouraged Shereece and Jake
to get back on track.
Yes, it's nice to be involved in a sporting event.
A little taste of what's to come.
Just nine weeks ago,
conquering 10km seemed like an impossible undertaking
but commitment, drive and determination
have seen them through.
Have a bit of that.
Oh, my God.
-I've got a warm glow inside me.
It's like a natural high, as they say in this running lark.
The endorphins are kicking in.
-It's the first medal I've ever won, actually.
-I know, me too. Yay!
-I'm so proud.
-Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I feel like I really worked for that.
A couple of weeks ago I saw myself failing this 10K
and everyone else doing it, and I actually did mine.
I did mine. I did mine.
I did mine. I did mine.
-SHE SPEAKS INDISTINCTLY
-Group hug, group hug.
It's an amazing achievement for them all.
But for Rhian, there's an even greater challenge ahead.
She's attempting a mammoth run in aid of the charity she set up
to help suddenly bereaved families.
And to mark the fifth anniversary of her little boy's death.
George fell seriously ill here in Llantrisant
and an ambulance was sent from Cardiff
to get him for specialised care,
but sadly the ambulance didn't arrive in time.
So today I'm going to make the journey that he never made
in memory of him to raise awareness of our charity
but also to show that life goes on and everyone has to live with hope.
Four of the other runners and Chevy have come to show their support.
Thank you all so, so much for being here today.
It means the world to me and my family
to remember George on this special day.
There's not going to be any tears. This is about hope.
And I just want to thank you all, from the bottom of my heart,
for being here. Thank you.
We're going to go out into the car park
and do a few minutes warm up with Chevy.
And then we're off, OK?
When George died, we received...
Well, no support whatsoever from anyone professional.
How can you have a child die
and no-one come and check that you're OK?
And, actually, even after Paul died just those few days later,
as a family we were just left and completely abandoned.
It's those things that have sort of built up inside me
and made me feel that I didn't matter.
Head up, head up, head up, eyes at the top.
And I've always said that, sadly, children do fall ill,
and do pass away, and you never want it to be your child.
But a daddy should not walk out and never come home four days after.
Rhian's strength, unbelievable.
She's running with heart, running with purpose.
This is it, right? This is the power of movement.
-It's why I do what I do.
-You're doing amazing, Poppy.
Rhian's children, Isaac and Holly,
are standing by to run the final leg.
We're going to be running one mile to the Cardiff hospital.
The good thing is, it's not too far.
Yeah. It's a mile, Holly, so, a bit far.
They're in sight!
They're here for you, sunshine. Come on, head up, head up, come on.
At the hospital, friends and supporters
are waiting to welcome Rhian, including her mum and dad.
To see all these people running for Rhian as well,
and to see her running in...
-..on her own...
-..with the reason behind it, why she's running on her own.
You know, it is very emotional.
We're so proud, we're so proud of her, the children.
Let's go. Head up.
Own this, yeah?
Yeah, well done!
You're there, you're there.
-Come on, Rhian.
-Well done, well done.
Rhian has completed a mammoth 17 miles.
Where's my mum? I did it.
-It's a long way.
-I got you chocolate!
What we said about, there's a couple of people in this process
where it's more of a healing process.
Erm, and we're definitely seeing that within Rhian,
and her strength just keeps shining through
and she's winning at the moment.
That was honestly one of the hardest things I've ever done.
Erm, the last bit, coming through the hospital was hard,
but I did it, you know?
It's good and all these people got me there.
I couldn't have done it without them.
Thank you. You've done it. You're there.
I'm so proud of you.
We will get through this in April together.
And... It's going to be really tough, though, really tough.
If you told me now I had to go and run another ten miles,
there's just no way I could do it.
So, a lot more training ahead.
Next time, the runners are joined by the Royal family.
Keep those feet going.
What we need to be able to do is create a platform where,
when the time is right,
you can come and talk about whatever you want to talk about.
-Can I ask you one question?
-Obviously, when your mum passed away...
..you were obviously a little bit older than my children,
-but I obviously worry about them growing up.
-They'll be OK, won't they?
-They'll be absolutely fine.
With a mum like you, they'll be absolutely fine.
You're the heroes because you're standing up there,
very bravely telling your stories.
As training intensifies...
..the epic challenge bites back...
-I'm in a lot of pain.
-So am I.
..and casts doubt over who will make it to this year's London Marathon.
I haven't been training this week.
As a result, I just don't feel very good.
-Yeah. It's emotional!
There's going to be a lot more tears before that finish line,
absolutely no doubt.
I just feel like I'm not going to be able to do it.
One in four people in the UK experience a mental health problem, yet despite being so widespread, people rarely talk openly or candidly about it. For those who have these difficulties, this stigma can exacerbate their situation and make it harder to recover.
In this two-part series, a group of ten unlikely runners living with or affected by different mental health issues train for the ultimate test of mind over matter. They'll compete in one of the world's most famous endurance races - the 2017 London Marathon. Mental and physical health is closely linked, and taking up sport or exercise can benefit our psychological wellbeing, but this is no easy ride.
Nick Knowles is on a personal mission to get the runners across the finishing line and leads a team of running experts, nutritionists and psychologists. The runners are running in the London Marathon for Heads Together, a campaign set up by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry to tackle the stigma around mental health.
In the first episode, the group come from all over the country to meet for the first time at a training camp. Each runner faces different challenges, some right from the start, and the show follows their experiences.
Among the ten runners is Rhian, a mum-of-three who lost her one-year-old son to pneumonia and five days later tragically lost her husband as well. She struggles with PTSD and anxiety and can't run on her own when she starts this process.
Shereece had postpartum depression after the birth of her first child and struggles with depression and panic attacks, and persuading her family that mental health problems are a real illness. Jake, a barman from Brighton, has struggled with depression but wants to try running as a way to help cope with his illness.
The episode follows them up to the point of getting ready for the challenge of running their first 10k race - an important milestone if they are to make the starting line of the London Marathon 2017, which takes place a few days after transmission.
Nick meets the Duke of Cambridge for a special interview to find out more about why the duke is personally involved with the mental health campaign.
The episode ends on an emotional high as Rhian attempts a 16-mile run in memory of her son George.