A FORMER police officer and mum-of-three is to run the length of the UK and back again in a bid to set a new world record.
Yvie Johnson, from Denbigh, aims to run 40 miles a day and clock up 1680 miles in just six weeks.
The 35-year-old hopes to set a new Guinness World Record by being the first person to run from Land’s End to John O’Groats then back again.
The current record is for running from Land’s End to John O’Groats only.
Yvie is also focused on raising money for mental health charities Bipolar UK, Mind, Scottish Association for Mental Health, Young Minds and Place2Be, something that is close to her heart after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder last April.
A keen sportswoman since her teens, Yvie has represented North Wales Police, Wrecsam Tri Club and Great Britain in a variety of sporting events from mountain running, cross-country and marathons, to sprint and Olympic triathlons, aquathlons, adventure racing and duathlons.
However, following her diagnosis and the crippling mental and physical toll it took on her, it was her Bipolar UK support group that helped her through some of her toughest days. She decided that she had to do something to say thank you and show her support for the charity by turning to what she knows best: running.
She said: “Thinking back, whenever I suffered a mental health episode, it was always running that helped me focus and build up my confidence again. So when I decided to raise money and awareness of mental health, there was only one thing to do it with. Yes, some may think it is extreme but the challenge I’ve set is representative of how far I’ve come and how I will continue to fight my illness”
Starting on April 2, Yvie will work her way from Cornwall to Groats via the West Highland Way and Great Glen Way, before turning around and running back again. She will be supported by many locals, some friends, some complete strangers, who have volunteered to do their bit for the cause – whether it be running or cycling part of the way or offering a donated sofa, floor space or spare bed.
Yvie said: “This run is, in one sense, a pilgrimage. It is my chance to do something that has never been done before, something that is beyond my imagination, and something that can benefit others dramatically while hopefully helping me to find my sense of self once more.”
Alongside her personal reasons, Yvie aims to raise £50,000 for the charities.
She added: “Whilst doctors talk medicine, medicine does not cure anguish. Only empathy, understanding, discussion, psychotherapy and self-belief can help with that. This is where Bipolar UK and other mental health charities come in. I feel connected to a tribe and I am ready to fight for that tribe. Fight stigma. Fight government bias. Fight the secrecy. I am doing this challenge for all those who cannot fight for themselves. I will be running with a fierce mind.”
To read more about Yvie’s challenge and the route she will be taking visit www.fiercemind.co.uk