Taking on the challenge of a lifetime
27-year-old Rhys, who is supported by Brandon in the Plymouth area, will be taking on the challenge of a lifetime next month.
In 2021, Rhys sadly lost his mum. In her memory, he decided he wanted to raise funds for Epilepsy Action whilst achieving a huge ambition. He now has his sights firmly set on running the Plymouth Half Marathon on 19 June 2022.
Sourcing the right kit and training
To enter the half marathon, Rhys first needed to source the right kit and get into training mode. He knew that he was going to need to commit to an intensive training programme.
With his support worker’s help, Rhys applied to Brandon’s Dream Fund. His application was successful and he was awarded funds to help pay the race entry fee, new shorts and running shirt, specialist footwear (properly measured and with gait analysis), and additional support hours to help him focus on his training.
So, who would be able to help Rhys to achieve his dream? He didn’t need to look far from home, in fact, someone in his own support team was the ideal candidate!
Helping others get into the sport
Step forward, Brandon support worker, Scott Allen. Scott, also from Plymouth, is an incredible athlete. He has defied a heart condition to run marathons across the World, raising thousands of pounds for charity in the process.
In 2015, he was awarded the BBC South West Unsung Sporting Hero award for setting up the hugely successful STORM running club, which helps other people get into the sport.
Featuring on BBC One Spotlight programme in 2015, Scott explained: “The club is for everybody regardless of ability. ”
Then, in 2018, Scott launched a new club, Ocean City Running Club, which helps runners of all abilities to improve their physical and mental health.
Six Star Finisher
In April 2022, Scott achieved his ambition to become a Six Star Finisher – someone who has completed all six major marathons; London, New York, Boston, Chicago, Berlin, and Tokyo.
Working closely with Rhys, Scott created a personalised training plan. With just under a month to go before race day, the pair have gradually worked up to a distance of eight miles and Rhys is on target to be running the full distance by 19 June. Rhys has also joined Scott’s Ocean City Running Club and enjoys the atmosphere and friendships he’s made. It’s really helping him to stay motivated.
'Running is new to me'
We caught up with Rhys, who told us more about his big challenge:
“In the last three months I have found running as a great positive in my life. I have entered my first ever half marathon to firstly challenge myself, but to also raise money for Epilepsy Action.
“I lost my mum to Epilepsy last year and want to do something wonderful in her memory.
“I’ve always been sporty but running is new to me. Scott inspired me to take on this challenge and has helped me get fitter and stronger. He has supported me every step of the way and he’ll be running with me on the day.
“Finishing the half marathon would give me a real sense of achievement. I think I’ll be quite emotional.”
'Remarkable young man'
Scott, who has been Rhys’ support worker for eight months, added:
“Rhys is a remarkable young man. He’s made tremendous strides with his fitness, confidence, and mental health.
“From when I first met him to now and how he’s grasped such a positive thing. It’s given him the springboard to start something great. He has something to believe in and aim for and I can’t wait to cross the finish line with him.”
We wish Rhys all the best in his marathon challenge. He has worked extremely hard and we know he can do it!
If you’d like to show your support and get updates on how training is going, please visit Rhys’ JustGiving page.
Join our team
Being a support worker can be a hugely varied role. Interested in finding out more about working with us? Visit the jobs section for more information and to browse our current vacancies.
Update 24 June 2022
If you're itching to find out how Rhys got on, please head to Scott's blog, Marathon runner achieves big ambition.