British gymnast Sam Oldham takes on running challenge for mental health charity

Mark Ashenden

Thursday 25 June 2020 21:25, UK

Sam Oldham
Image: Sam Oldham was supported by Sky as a Scholar for four years

After a long battle with depression, British gymnast and ex-Sky Scholar Sam Oldham takes on a huge running challenge this weekend to raise awareness on mental health issues.

So why is he pounding the streets for charity and why does it mean so much to him?

The 27-year-old from Nottingham reveals all.....

"Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to speak at the Sky Scholarships event in London. I talked openly about my recent battle with depression and how it has impacted my gymnastics career.

The past three months have been a real test for me mentally and at times I've struggled again with anxiety.

One thing that has really helped me is running, which is something I don't normally use in my training.

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Around three weeks ago while on a run I came up with the idea for the Big Love project.

The plan was to get a group of young men working together to try and raise some awareness around mental health issues.

The next day I began ringing up friends of mine, as well as my younger brother, to see if they would be up for the challenge.

Incredibly each and every one of the boys said yes and that they wanted to be involved.

The Big Love run was born and we have just reached our fundraising target of £2,000 for the mental health charity MIND.

This weekend five friends, my little brother in Australia and I will be running 5K. The challenge is to see if we can all break the 20-minute barrier, but more importantly encourage young men to talk more openly with close friends and loved ones.

I strongly believe that a problem shared is a problem halved.

I'd like to say a massive thank you to everyone that has supported the team and donated so far. It's given us all a massive boost and inspired us to keep on pushing.

It's been amazing to receive the support of my fellow Sky Sport Scholars Joe Fraser, Jack Bateson, Siobhan-Marie O'Connor and Jason Quigley.

I've been filled with so much pride and optimism for the future these past few weeks.

Big Love Sam X