12 March 2021

Teacher running to pub and back every day until it reopens

12 March 2021

A teacher is running to the pub and back every day until it is able to reopen.

Ollie Ripley, a maths teach from Walton-on-Thames, is running the roughly 5km (3.1 miles) to The Swan and back every day to raise money for mental health charity Mind.

Mr Ripley, 29, said he saw the closed pub as emblematic of the strain placed on the public’s wellbeing over a year of coronavirus lockdowns.

“They’re so central to society,” he told the PA news agency.

“When we come out of this lockdown it’s the one place we’re all going to want to go to see our friends, to see our families, to reunite and feel good after a year in lockdown.

“Everyone’s going want to go the pub, everyone wants that feeling of having a beer with friends and socialising, to get back to normality really.”

Mr Ripley began his challenge around a month ago as the public awaited Boris Johnson’s road map for exiting lockdown, and has now run the route more than 30 times.

He will continue to run until at least April 12, which is the earliest date that pubs will be allowed to open outdoor spaces as restrictions ease.

He plans to mark the occasion with a half marathon culminating with a drink at The Swan.

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“The hospitality industry is going to need our help, it’s going to need our support,” he said.

“So I hope this encourages people not only to get out and have a run and exercise for mental health, but also to get out and support your local – whether it be restaurants, pubs, whatever it is – go out, support local, and try and bring the community back to life a little bit.”

Mr Ripley has been mixing things up by jogging some days with a friend or family member, and even doing some of his runs in fancy dress, and posting daily updates to TikTok.

He chose Mind to raise money for because of the strain placed on the nation’s mental health during the pandemic.

“Everyone’s feeling down, myself included,” he said.

“I know so many of my friends, family members feel rubbish in lockdown – especially when the weather’s been bad in this latest lockdown, it has been rubbish.

“Mind mental health do so much great work with people who are struggling – they say one on four people struggle with mental health issues and I just think it’s such a great cause and so needed at the moment.”

To donate, head to justgiving.com/fundraising/closedpubruns2021

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