Former Wales and British and Irish Lion Dafydd James ran 31 marathons for the duration of January. He covered 812.2 miles altogether when he finished yesterday by running, rowing or cycling.
The former winger opened up last February, admitting he had considered taking his own life after experiencing anxiety and panic attacks following his retirement. He said, “everybody has issues, some people just shelter away from it. I’m trying to break the stigma with male mental health”. His deed is timely, with former professional players currently taking their employers to court over the consequences of head injuries. The group claim one result is the mental health challenges they now face.
At 43 James is still in excellent physical shape and got given the chance to play for Pontypridd in the Welsh Premiership in 2018. The semi-professional side offered him the chance after he was the man of the match in a testimonial match between Lockyer Select XV and Sardis Road First XV. He declined, saying he didn’t need “19 or 20-year-olds trying to take my head off” each week.
Dafydd James marathons
Dafydd James ran the length of the Welsh Coastal path and completed the last of his 31 marathons at Rest Bay in Porthcawl, with his cocker spaniel and eldest son with him. He completed the marathons for Hafal, a member-led charity for people with a mental illness and their carers in Wales. He also did it for Noah’s Ark Charity, a children’s hospital in Wales.
After finishing, he advised everyone “to try to get outside, try to stay positive. We’re all in this together and if anyone can do this, you can”. The target was to raise £1,000 but as of writing, he has raised £2,748. And there’s still time to donate.
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