Marathon runner to tackle stigma surrounding mental health

Reuben Selby running the Brighton Marathon in 2015
Reuben Selby running the Brighton Marathon in 2015

A Steyning man is hoping to put aside the social stigma attached to mental health problems by tackling his second marathon next month.

Reuben Selby, 20, will be running the Berlin Marathon on September 25 in a bid to raise money for mental health advice and support centre MIND – a charity he holds a personal connection with.

As a sufferer of narcolepsy, Reuben wants to get people talking about mental health and empower anyone experiencing a problem.

He said: “When I was younger, the older generation would talk about mental health with a certain stigma attached to it.

“I sort of had that view until I started to think I might be going through something myself.

“I had this idea that people looked down on those with mental health problems.

“Every year, one in four of us will experience a mental health problem. I want to play a role in increasing awareness of mental ill health and in reducing the social stigma that is so often attached to it.”

Reuben now lives in London as part of his job as a creative director working on fashion shoots, magazines and photo shoots.

He grew up in Steyning and returns home often to continue his intense training programme.

He added: “Steyning is such a beautiful place to do my training with such an open run on the South Downs.

“I noticed a massive difference in the air when I ran in London. It is so polluted and unlike the air in Steyning which is clean and fresh.”

Reuben ran the Brighton Marathon two years ago, aged 18, for Cancer Research.

He finished in three hours and 22 minutes but this year he wants to break the three hour mark.

He said: “I’m running the marathon myself – it’s an amazing process and is allowing me to focus my energy on something positive.

“I am training very hard and pushing myself to break three hours.

“My training is mainly made up by running but I also box once or twice a week and I’m in the gym pretty much everyday.

“I also do some cycling to help mix it up and keep it interesting and reduce the strain on my body.

“My training is not just physical, it’s mental too. I meditate daily which allows me to get a into a positive and relaxed mind set when running. I’d recommend meditation to everyone, especially those with mental health issues.

“I will be heading out to Berlin a couple of days before the marathon to get a feel for the city as I have never been before and to walk the route.”

If you would like to donate to Reuben’s fundraising attempt, you can do so via www.justgiving.com/fundraising/reuben-selby2.