Marathon joy for victim of attack

Sam (in the grey t-shirt) at Walk2Run at the Pelham back in September 2016
Sam (in the grey t-shirt) at Walk2Run at the Pelham back in September 2016

A man who was unable to leave his house for years after being attacked by a gang recently completed a gruelling marathon.

Sam Brown, 26, from Sidley, joined more than 2,100 other runners in the Beachy Head Marathon in Eastbourne.

Sam with his medal

Sam with his medal

He became a keen runner after getting involved with an organisation called Walk2Run, which teaches people how to run to support their mental, physical and social wellbeing.

Jacqueline Youldon, from Walk2Run, said: “Sam was attacked 12 years ago in Eastbourne by some young people who assaulted him and photographed the incident. This horrific attack deeply affected him and his mental health. He recounts that he felt unable to leave the house for several years afterwards, and found it difficult to trust people. He suffered feelings of anger and fear and became very depressed.

“But in 2015 Sam’s life began to take a more positive turn. With support from family and friends he started volunteering at the Pelham in Sidley, working in the new kitchen washing up and preparing food for customers.

“It was here I first met Sam, who became an unstoppable running force. He came to Walk2Run every Friday morning and it wasn’t long before he started entering races. He also joined a fitness class called Total Nutrition.”

On October 1 he ran the Eastbourne 10k and four weeks later, the Beachy Head Marathon.

Friend and training buddy Rob Thomas said: “I am very proud of Sam and how quickly he has built up speed and endurance through his disciplined training. Beachy Head is no easy option for a first marathon, as you climb hills from the start with hardly any level ground along the 26.2-mile course. Sam has shown remarkable mental and physical strength with both his planning and performance on the day.”

Sam recently led a fitness class on World Mental Health Day, raising £220 for Together Wellbeing.

For more information about Walk2Run, visit www.Walk2Run.org or email Jacky@Walk2Run.org.