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Man to run 465km in month to help people take ‘small steps’ to aid mental health

Anil Toraty is running 465km in one month (Jonny Gurteen/Thomas Chambers/PA)
Anil Toraty is running 465km in one month (Jonny Gurteen/Thomas Chambers/PA)

A man who is to run in one kilometre increments each day over the course of November hopes to encourage people to “take the small steps to talk about how you’re feeling”.

Anil Toraty, 38, has taken part in Movember this year – an annual event during November which aims to raise awareness of men’s health issues, including mental health.

He is to run for 30 consecutive days across November in one kilometre increments, starting with 1km on the first day of the month and ending with 30km on the last day – which equates to 465km in total – to “represent we can only keep going so long on our own before we need help”, spurred on by his personal struggles with his mental health.

Man running
Mr Toraty said he hopes his challenge will encourage others to make “small steps” in terms of talking about their feelings (Thomas Chambers/PA)

The senior director at Visa, who lives in Haggerston, east London, told the PA news agency that he suffered with depression in his twenties and developed suicidal thoughts, which lasted until his early thirties, as well as taking anti-depressants for around six years to help with his mental wellbeing, with this year proving particularly challenging.

“I do feel like I’ve taken on just so much through the year – I had a pretty traumatic breakdown in my relationship and a pretty intense work schedule and had health problems because of Covid and bronchitis,” he said.

“I was taking everything in my stride and not getting any help – and I think a lot of people do that unknowingly.”

Man running
Anil Toraty is to run 465km in November (Thomas Chambers/PA)

He added that “if someone were to say to you, ‘hey, do you want to run 1km with me on the first day and 2km on the second day,’ you would think ‘that’s not terrible’.

“You might be able to do it up until day five, but then it becomes something you cannot keep doing for a long time and you start to feel the physical build-up.”

He said that he expects to be “completely exhausted” by the time he gets to day 30, which will represent that he – as well as others who may be struggling with their mental health – could have sought help in the form of physical therapy earlier.

“You don’t have to wait until you’re completely at the point of a breakdown,” he added.

“The moment you start seeing some sort of sign that you are more stressed than usual or not feeling as great is the time to be open about having conversations about your mental health.”

He added that he wanted to do a running challenge as it allows him to clear his head and gives him the time to think and process his feelings.

“When I run, I can feel that my body calms down, my breathing kind of regulates, and that sense of relief gives me the confidence to work through my anxiety.”

The 38-year-old, who said that he is still battling with his mental health but has learned to live with it, added that he has only recently felt comfortable enough to speak more openly about his mental health with friends.

“I now realise that there is nothing wrong with feeling depressed or suffering with your mental health, there’s nothing wrong with me.”

“The message I hope people take away from this challenge is to take the small steps to talk about how you’re feeling.

“Sparking conversations was really important to me and it’s not only to create conversations for people that are suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts, but I think it’s also important for family and friends who are supporting those struggling to have these conversations as well.”

More information about Mr Toraty’s challenge can be found here: