A HOUSING worker is running 268 miles in seven days to support people with mental health.

Michael Burke, who has personal experience of depression, used to work with adults with mental health issues.

Now he is taking part in the Montane Spine Race to raise money for Brighton-based mental health charity Mind.

The 42-year-old, who lives in Haywards Heath, said: “I’ve got friends who have experienced mental health and I haven’t come across a single person who hasn’t been affected by it in some way.

“I have had times myself when I have struggled with depression and anxiety, it’s part of living in today’s society and the huge amount of pressure people are put under.”

Michael, who now works for a council, said extreme sports could be a release from this.

He said: “I think that with these sorts of extreme sorts of events you are pitching yourself against nature and testing your own fortitude. Before, I’ve been on the side of a mountain screaming at the world, but when you are trying to pick your way through rocks and keep a pace going you have to be able to laugh at yourself sometimes. I do love it, and there’s a solitude to it.”

The Montane Spine Race takes participants along the Pennine Way, starting in the Peak District village of Edale and finishing in Kirk Yetholm, a village in the Scottish Borders region of Scotland.

It starts on Sunday and runners will have to cover nearly 40 miles each day.

Michael said: “The fact that it’s in winter means that this race will be brutal so I’ve got as much warm gear as possible, and have even invested in some gloves which are interwoven with aluminium.

“We may have to sleep outside so I will be carrying about 10k of gear, including a tent and sleeping bag.”

The race is a continuous event with no breaks and five checkpoints, which competitors must reach within a certain time period.

Michael said: “Between checkpoint one and two you have to cover about 60 miles with more than 3,100 metres ascent.

“There’s a whole sleep deprivation element to contend with as well, as you get a 90-minute sleep cycle when you can.”

He is raising money for Mind via a JustGiving page, aiming to raise a total of £1,000.