Banbury ultramarathon runner to test his strength of mind for mental health charity

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An ultramarathon runner near Banbury will take on his biggest test yet with an extreme tunnel run while raising money for a local mental health charity.

Kevin Mayo, aged 62, from Clifton, entered the 200-mile The Tunnel race on March 1 to test himself both physically and mentally while also raising awareness and money for Oxfordshire Mind.

The race, which is one of the UK's most unique and challenging, will see participants complete approximately 100 lengths of the Combe Down tunnel near Bath in 55 hours or less.

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Runners will race in pitch-black darkness between 11pm and 5am, with limited sleep, and they are not permitted to bring any form of outside support.

Ultrarunner Kevin Mayo will test himself like never before when he takes on the Tunnel race next month.Ultrarunner Kevin Mayo will test himself like never before when he takes on the Tunnel race next month.
Ultrarunner Kevin Mayo will test himself like never before when he takes on the Tunnel race next month.

Kevin, an experienced ultrarunner, says he is taking on the challenge because mental health issues are very prevalent and Mind are the sponsors of the Banbury Parkrun, which he is involved with.

He said: “As this is as much of a mental test as a physical one, I thought it would be fitting to fundraise for a mental health charity.”

"I have done lots of ultrarunning before and have tested myself on speed with 50-mile races and with distance with 190-mile races, but this will be much more of a test.

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"The fact that it is in a tunnel, with no daylight, no support crew, and just running up and down with no scenery, so I thought this would be a good way to test myself mentally."

Due to the extreme nature of the race, entrants are vetted, and only 45 of the most experienced long-distance runners are allowed to take part.

Kevin has been preparing for the event for around a year and has initiated a training plan with a specific focus on nighttime running to accustom himself to sensory deprivation.

He said: “In the race, I’m hoping to get to around 120 or 130 miles and then sleep for about 20 minutes, and then after that, I will probably go for 90 seconds of standing up, which sounds crazy but is possible if you lean against a wall.

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"The hardest bit will be that no one is there coaching me, so I will have to keep my brain together to know when I’m starting to become dysfunctional."

To donate to Kevin’s fundraiser, visit https://www.justgiving.com/page/kevin-mayo-1707230757297

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