Over the 25th and 26th of May, the annual ‘London 2 Brighton Ultra Marathon’ will be taking place once more. With over 2,000 people taking part in this great challenge, beginning in Richmond-Upon-Thames and finishing at the Brighton Racecourse, it is a fantastic opportunity for those both seeking an independent challenge and others who aim to fundraise for various incredible charities. Boasting an impressive 100km and around 1,500 metres of climb, it is a remarkable feat.


One such adventurer is Dr Sam Cosham, a teacher at the Weald School in Billingshurst, who was inspired to sign up for the Ultra Challenge for a culmination of reasons. Firstly, he has undertaken similar hikes in the past such as the 3 Peaks in 2006 or the South Downs Way in 2016, so naturally, an ‘Ultra Challenge’ was the next exciting step.


The idea of the ‘Ultra Challenge’ first came to Dr Cosham after a conversation with a similar adventurer on the South Downs Way and after setting his sights on it, he has dedicated himself to his preparations such as increasingly further and more intense hikes, “taking up ballroom dancing with the Horsham Dancers Club for general fitness” and overcoming a “mental block” by proving to himself he could make it up “Ditchling Beacon” to avoid it being a last mountainous hurdle on the challenge.


Interestingly, for a New Year Dr Cosham prefers to set himself a “wishlist of targets” - such as aiming to conquer the ‘Ultra Challenge’ - to avoid the “pressures” of a resolution; in a time when mental health is more important than ever, he stated that its “good and well to have ambitions” but taking on too much can sometimes be “overwhelming”.


Secondly, Dr Cosham hopes to raise awareness of the large-scale effects and implications of cancer as it is “easy to take things for granted, or to overlook things”. Similarly, last November, he and another teacher took part in ‘Movember’ with a similar aim: “Mental health… is a massive thing” and such campaigns get “people talking” about diverse matters, not just directly cancer and mental health.


Thirdly, through personal experience, Dr Cosham has experienced firsthand the amazing work of charities such as Macmillan who “check in” with those struggling with the effects of cancer. They also “look after your mental health” when it is at its most vulnerable and they “direct you to resources”. As Dr Cosham stated, “you can’t put a price” on the vital work of such charities. As a result, Dr Cosham has set a target of £600 on his JustGiving page (http://tinyurl.com/CoshamJustGiving) in order to support a charity close to him personally.


Despite the ‘Ultra Challenge’ on the horizon, Dr Cosham looks forward to hopefully many more similar challenges in the future, such as the Cotswold’s Way or hikes in the Lake District.