A Liverpool John Moores lecturer, will be running every day in October in hopes to raise money for two mental health charities.
Daniel Cooper, a Nursing and allied health lecturer, has already completed 19 days of October and is feeling optimistic about completing his challenge called Running Up That Hill.
Cooper is one of four hosts of the men’s mental health podcast The Man Hug. The podcast aims to reduce mental health stigma between men and has had some big-name guests already including former Liverpool goalkeeper Chris Kirkland, who has been open about his struggles with mental health.
Cooper is hoping that it will continue to take off and get more subscribers.
A huge thank you to all of our amazing guests so far. They have all told their own personal stories to enable men to feel more confident in reaching out for help and talking about their own problems. We have one simple aim and that is to get men to normalize the conversation… pic.twitter.com/MJvdijg5G3
— The Man Hug (@TheManHug) August 3, 2023
Cooper began his journey after an epiphany at the beginning of October last year.
The dad decided he would run at least five kilometres every day of the month in hopes to raise money for The Christie Manchester where his wife was receiving cancer treatment.
The first day of October this year soon rolled around, and he decided to make a difference again.
The development of men’s mental health awareness had been vastly important to him.
Cooper admitted: “I have suffered from depression and stuff in the past, and I know it can be a very lonely place.”
For that reason, he decided he would challenge himself again.
This time he is hoping to raise money for two main charities and more awareness for his podcast.
He speaks passionately about both charities The Florrie, a charity that hosts a community hub for people of South Liverpool, and Liverpool Football Therapy.
Daniel acknowledged his interests lie in The Florrie’s walking group
“It just gives a platform for blokes to have some time out of the house and gives them a more manly way to deal with mental health issues if they do not feel comfortable accessing counselling or a GP,” he said.
Liverpool Football Therapy is a charity with similar aims.
It offers football sessions for men who are affected by mental health issues, but Daniel admitted helping these charities benefits his own mental health.
He said: “You get involved in sort of raising money and awareness for the charity and it gives you a good sense of achievement, doesn’t it?”
But the 42-year-old confessed that this year was harder than his previous attempt.
“Every time I was running last year, I was out there running for my wife and my family, and that really gave me extra impetus,” he said.
Despite the added struggle he is determined to complete his challenge and has set himself an additional goal of 200 kilometres in the month.
Cooper said: “I am about 110 kilometres in, and I’ve got like, 12 days left so to get to 200 I know I’m going to have to put a couple of 15k’s in so yeah I am definitely not looking forward to them”.
One thing that will make those 15 kilometres runs easier for Cooper is a running companion.
He explained: “My brother was supposed to be running with me today but now he has pulled out, so I will be by myself but if I can get a couple of people to come and join me that will definitely make it easier.”
More charity work like this is the aim for Cooper, despite acknowledging his own limitations.
He said: “Obviously each year I am getting older, I am no speedy Gonzalez, but I am enjoying it despite my legs beginning to feel it, but I do hope to do a similar challenge in the future.”
His fundraising page can be found at: https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/Runningupthathill2023?utm_term=QYvR9d9rB__;!!IhKztkE!ZyafkfGX0wwwmMKJWZAR7DzgZYUMlA6fXwocv_aXri7yb0C5fYHEwPePuH0PTwHMb1PQlbpemEil9yvZ1INtLdAJgPY$
The Man Hug Podcast can be found here, and under the Twitter and Instagram Tag @themanhug