Athlete achieves world first in Wales mountain run challenge

A UK athlete has achieved a world first by running up and down the Welsh Three Peaks Challenge in just four days.

The challenge – from 5 to 8 August – took Isaac Kenyon, from St Albans, to the summits of  Mount Snowdon, Cadair Idris and Pen y Fan – a total of 136 miles.

And not only did he run up and down each peak, but also he ran between them  – setting a new world record and raising much needed funds for a mental health charity close to his heart.

Ultra-endurance athlete Isaac, 28, has overcome various mental health issues, including anxiety and panic disorder, supported throughout by his local branch of national charity Mind.

But he says nature – and being outdoors – also played a key part in his recovery and he is calling on experts to prescribe nature activities to those struggling with similar issues.

The Welsh Three Peaks Challenge began with 1085m Snowdon at the northern end of the Snowdonia National Park and, after scaling and descending the mountain, Isaac ran to and summitted 893m Cadair Idris at the southern end.

He then ran to the Brecon Beacons National Park where he tackled the last peak of the challenge, 886m high Pen y Fan.

Isaac, who is also dyslexic, now hopes his achievement will encourage others – particularly men – to take up running as a stress reliever.

“Running gives me headspace to relax, be mindful and reduce my anxiety and stress levels,” he said. “And I very much hope I can inspire other men to reconnect and access their own nature spots to help support their physical and mental health.

“Far too many men don’t get the support they need and as a result they remain silent and end up feeling isolated and sometimes never make it out of dark places.

“It needs to be made known that no one is alone in their struggles, and that there are outlets and help, some being natural ones like running in the outdoors and others being charities available for them.

“I love the mountains – it is there where I feel most at home and I often come into wild spaces like this to find the ecological balance between my mind, body and nature. It’s my place of “Ecotherapy.”

A film of Isaac’s challenge will be released later this year, which he hopes will “encourage others to get into nature and to end the stigma by speaking out about mental health issues.”

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