St Albans 'Everyday Battler' overcomes odds to complete 10k run
PUBLISHED: 17:49 30 October 2019 | UPDATED: 17:49 30 October 2019
Sam Mellish © 2019
A university lecturer from St Albans overcame his anxiety to take part in a 10k run as part of the 'Everyday Battlers' campaign.
Connor Howard, 26, was one of nine people across the UK chosen to participate in tyre company Bridgestone's Everyday Battlers campaign, which aims to inspire people to conquer their goals.
Following a four-month physical training programme, Connor took part in the 10k run at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. The participants all had personal reasons for signing up the challenge, including overcoming serious health issues and in memory of lost loved ones.
Connor was suffering anxiety and felt like he was stuck in a rut, which resulted in him spending hours indoors without socialising. Following a change of career, a house move and the birth of his son, Connor felt he had to make a change and was chosen for the campaign by a panel of judges.
Bridgestone enlisted the help of Rio Olympics 2016 gold medallist Chris Mears and performance psychologist Greg Whyte to provide mental and physically support for Connor during his challenge.
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After completing the run, Connor said: "It has been one of the best experiences of my life. I have never done anything like this before, but I'm proud to have completed the challenge.
"After each jog I have felt so much better. I've found new levels of confidence through this challenge which I never thought I had.
"Since starting this, I have taken more positive lifestyle choices. I've also realised that it's OK to have bad weeks, as long as I can pick myself up afterwards."
Chris Mears, a synchronised springboard diving champion, created the challenge by calling on his own experiences of fighting for his dreams against all odds - after almost dying from a ruptured spleen at the age of 16.
He said: "I don't think the participants quite understand how much they have inspired me. They've done something remarkable and are a great source of inspiration to me.
"Completing a 10k run is a huge prospect for some people who might never dream of participating for a number of reasons, let alone complete the race.
"We were touched by Connor's personal story, and it was a very emotional moment to see him cross the finish line."