Professor Arash Sahraie, of the School of Psychology, aims to run 10 marathons in 10 days, starting on July 1, to raise much-needed funds for Mental Health Aberdeen and the Archie Foundation. Read more about what drives his passion for sport and why he has decided to take on this amazing challenge.
I was born in a small town in the Zagros mountains. At 6,500 feet above sea level (similar elevation as Ben Nevis) and surrounded by peaks of nearly double that, it had a harsh climate. Walking to school in the winter mornings with air temperatures around minus 20 degrees over ice and snow and then the dry hot long summers of 35 degrees plus were character building. As far back as I recall, we spent most of our weekends outdoors and on the hills. My parents now in their eighties, were and still are keen advocates of outdoor activities and continue to put in 12 hours of work a day at their farm, so being active is something that I have inherited.
Doing sport has helped me with pressures of my undergraduate and postgraduate studies. I enjoyed the competitions together with the social aspects of it. You can go to any town, join a sports club on your first day and make friends. As I got older, I found that sports helped with pressures of work and parenting, and over the years, the activities shifted from speed competition to endurance events with some lasting almost a whole day!
Just like everyone else, I’ve found coping with the pandemic, working from home and the lack of social interactions not easy so I started to run a marathon (or longer) every other weekend from the first week of the pandemic till now as a coping strategy. There are many others who need specialist help to cope with mental health issues, and with pressures on NHS, it is so important to help the local charities providing that safety net. That is why I am going to set up a challenge for myself of running 10 Marathons in 10 days starting July 1, to support Mental Health Aberdeen and the Archie Foundation. With four children, we have relied on services of Aberdeen Children Hospital on so many occasions and therefore supporting great work of the Archie Foundation is close to my heart.
Should you wish to support the work of either of these charities, you can find the link for the challenge I am undertaking here (https://www.justgiving.com/team/Arash)