01 September 2023

Man running 100 miles around Isle of Man coastline in father’s memory

01 September 2023

A British man is running 100 miles around the Isle of Man in 24 hours to raise money for charity in memory of his father, who died of leukaemia.

Jack Freeman, 26, told the PA news agency that he struggled with his mental health in the years after his father’s death, but his life transformed when he began running during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Freeman has run several ultra-marathons and is running the perimeter of his island home for charity “in memory of my father and to encourage people to make a change in their lives”, he said.

The runner said the 100-mile run is a “big challenge” that begins at 5am on Saturday in Douglas – but he was “feeling good for it”.

In preparation for the challenge, Mr Freeman ran 61 miles around the island and said: “I had no support for that so I just carried my own stock and food and [used] pub toilets and went into local Co-ops and things like that to restock with food.”

His father, Mark Freeman – also a runner, died when Jack was only 13 years old and in the years since Mr Freeman found that running is “something I found really peaceful when I was grieving my dad”.

He said: “I started running originally during the [Covid-19] lockdowns. I was getting a bit bored being trapped inside, so I thought, I’ll make a change for myself and actually do something with my life.

“I just started running to keep fit and keep sane as well, because when my dad died I struggled with my mental health.”

Mr Freeman said he had been “quite an isolated person” and “would binge drink and stuff like that when I was younger because I couldn’t fit in with society”.

He added: “I didn’t feel connected to anyone because I was suffering with my own pain in my own head.

“I used lockdown as a chance to build myself back up again and help myself so I kept going on runs and I started really enjoying it for my mind and started finding it really helpful.”

He said being around local runners helped him “gain friendships”.

He added: “They’re really top people and being around that sort of environment, in nature, and being around healthy people changed my mindset massively.”

Ahead of his 100-mile challenge, Mr Freeman said he was “feeling really good” as he was raising money for several charities – including Anthony Nolan, Isle Listen and The Isle of Man Foodbank.

He said: “I just want to get it done now and I can’t wait to use it to remember my dad.”

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