Gary gets ‘pick me up’ from Mr Motivator ahead of challenge

After months of training, local man Gary Rutherford will run five marathons in five days next week to raise awareness of ARC’s ‘No Shame campaign’.

Friday, 21st May 2021, 10:19 am
Gary Rutherford will be running five marathons in five days while wearing a 22lb weighted vest as part of the 'No Shame' campaign
Gary Rutherford will be running five marathons in five days while wearing a 22lb weighted vest as part of the 'No Shame' campaign

Gary will be running a total of 131 miles while wearing a 22lb weighted vest, to symbolise the heavy burden of shame that often acts as a barrier to recovery.

The Waterside man launched ARC a fitness based addiction recovery service, in 2019.

Gary struggled with addiction for around 15 years and he found that fitness was an essential part of his own recovery.

The non-profit, social enterprise supports individuals and their loved ones in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction through learning, coaching, physical activity and community support.

The group’s ‘No Shame’ campaign seeks to change the conversation that surrounds addiction and challenge the existing stigma, shame, discrimination, and blame that can often stop someone from seeking the support that is available to them.

Gary has been training for the challenge for a number of weeks and after a difficult long run and a minor injury, he needed a little extra motivation.

Thanks to his wife Sarah, Gary received a supportive video message from Mr Motivator himself.

“It was just amazing, sure everyone remembers Mr Motivator. It was a nice pick me up because I had just done my last big run and now I am resting until the challenge begins.

“I have spent 21 weeks training and I feel prepared. The week before last I ran a marathon around the grounds of Gransha with the vest on and I felt good.

“There were a couple of runs where I struggled and I hurt my knee, but I took advice and I came around.”

Gary will begin the challenge on Monday and will receive support from a small group of ARC members, who will run small chunks of the marathons with him.

“The campaign has really started a conversation and it is so good how well it has taken off,” Gary said. “The people of Derry, and further afield, have been brilliant and so supportive. It feels great to receive such support and generosity from the local community.”

Gary added that as a result of the campaign, “people are reaching out who wouldn’t have reached out before.”

At present, ARC members are doing individual training but Gary is looking forward to restrictions easing further to allow group training to begin again for people struggling with substance misuse who have found lockdown extremely difficult.