Sandridge student takes on running challenge for Mind

Sandridge student Cody Gray is running 300 miles in January for Mind.

Sandridge student Cody Gray is running 300 miles in January for Mind. - Credit: Cody Gray

A Sandridge student is aiming to run 300 miles during January to raise awareness of mental health issues under lockdown

Cody Gray, 23, devised the challenge to support Mind, which supports and cares for people suffering from mental health issues, in memory of Sandringham School classmate Oliver Breen who took his own life in December 2017.

He explained: "The motive isn’t solely for my friend Oliver but also for others close to me who currently suffer and for those who are suffering worse or who have developed mental health issues as a result of the pandemic."

Cody, a psychology student at the University of Hertfordshire, also works part time as a healthcare assistant at an eating disorder hospital.

He said: "I think it's very important that mental health charities are supported as currently mental health public services are not easily accessible to those who are in desperate need. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated mental health issues and this has led to an increase in suicide and a deterioration in mental health not only in those who were already suffering but also those who may have never struggled originally. Consequently, the demand for services that Mind provides is at an all-time high."

For his challenge Cody currently runs approximately 10 miles a day, and his journey through St Albans city centre passes his friend's house on the way.

He added: "I have been finding the runs probably just as mentally draining as physically. I have blisters all over my feet and aching absolutely all over. Obviously if  I miss a day that means I have to do 20 miles the next day and because it’s exam time at uni I missed running one day so I had to make it up to stay on track.

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"My friends said they’d donate more if I ran a marathon. I ended up doing one only a week into the challenge and it was the hardest thing that I had ever done but it was the support and the cause of mental health that kept me going even when I wanted to quit. Overall, it’s been incredibly tough.

"I did a few 5K runs in the first lockdown, but before that I'd probably never run more than five miles in the Sandringham School fun run.

"I am fairly fit as I train boxing over in Hemel Hempstead at Mamba gym but I am by no means a runner and I definitely do not enjoy it, I think it’s just a challenge that is admirable regardless of what sport you do,."

You can sponsor his efforts on his GoFundMe page at