Model and music industry professional Sam Tewari is one of 10 unlikely runners featured in the BBC ‘Mind Over Marathon’ two-part series this April. First aired on 20th April 2017, with the second part on 27th April, this new two-part series follows a group of 10 unlikely runners living with or affected by different mental health issues as they train for the ultimate test of “mind over matter” – competing in one of the world’s most famous endurance races, the London Marathon.
Presenter Nick Knowles, who is on a personal mission to get our runners across the finishing line, leads a team of running experts, nutritionists and psychologists. The runners will be 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.
One in four people in the UK experience a mental health problem, yet we rarely talk openly or candidly about it. For those who have these difficulties, this stigma only exacerbates their situation, making it harder to recover. Mental and physical health are closely linked, and taking up sport or exercise can benefit our psychological wellbeing – but this is no easy ride.
In the opening episode, the group come from all over the country to meet for the first time at a training camp. Each of the different runners face different challenges, with different personal journeys.
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 initially can’t run on her own.
Shereece had postpartum depression after the birth of her first child. She 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.
This episode follows them as they get ready for the challenge of running their first 10k race – an important milestone if they’re to make the starting line of the London Marathon 2017, which takes place a few days after transmission.
Also included is the first episode of Happy Man, a BBC Three short-form documentary series presented by 23 year-old comedian Jack Rooke which explores male identity, mental health and body image.
The BBC Minds Matter season is a series thought-provoking programmes across TV, radio and online, and aims to bring about a national conversation around mental health. There’ll be special reports across BBC News, a special episode of BBC Two’s Horizon which will look at schizophrenia and advancements in the treatment of psychoses, and BBC Radio 1 is running a year-long campaign focusing on youth mental health. On social media, celebrities are posting selfies holding up four fingers with the hashtag #1in4, to highlight that 1 in 4 people experience mental health issues and to help breakthrough the stigma associated with mental health.
The first part of BBC One’s Mind Over Marathon is on 20th April 2017, with the second part on 27th April 2017.