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Credit: Church of Scotland
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Credit: Church of Scotland
Church News

Minister runs 'preaching marathon' between churches to raise money for mental health support

A minister has run a marathon across two Scottish parishes, stopping to speak at three churches on the issue of mental health.

Rev James Bissett has plotted a 26.2 mile route across the Contin and Strathpeffer parishes, north-west of Inverness in the Highlands, to raise money for the Scottish Association for Mental Health. 

Speaking before he set off, Rev Bissett said: "This is a big challenge for me because it is my first marathon and I am pretty unfit and about as far from an athlete as you can imagine.

"During the first lockdown I did the Couch to 5K NHS training programme for people who want to start running and surprisingly I quite enjoyed it.

"So, to give myself a target, I decided to do the Virtual London Marathon which allows you to set your own route via an app.

"I have 24 hours to run the length of the parish that I looked after until recently which stretches from Achnasheen to Strathpeffer.

"I am quite daunted but I have been training up for it and increasing my distances bit by bit and completed a half marathon in August which was quite a milestone.

"I have walked 26 miles before and I hope I do not get any injuries on the route which will be mainly on roads but also through forests."

Rev Bissett completed the feat in just over seven hours. As a stakeholder in rock music radio station Primordial, the minister told Premier why he chose to run to raise money for a mental health charity. 

"We've lost many rock musicians to suicide, and we've always been aware that people don't talk about mental health," he explained. "Even in churches, we shy away from it." 

He added that the Scottish Association for Mental Health engages in work that "is genuinely life-saving".

"They deserved a bit of my time," he said. 

According to his JustGiving page, Rev Bissett has exceeded his target of £1,000, raising £1600. 

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