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Meet the Grassroots Runners 2021: Jon Binks

The Grassroots Runners, which was only started started in 2020, is a growing and thriving community of passionate fundraisers with a common goal – to raise awareness and prevent suicide through running. After many of 2020’s running events not going forward, and a year of waiting for the go-ahead, our runners are more ready than ever to take on the challenge in this year’s upcoming marathons.

We spoke to some of our 2021 Grassroots Runners about how their early stages of training are going, what motivated them to run with Grassroots and what they’re most excited for about the big day!

Here is what Jon Binks, a Grassroots trustee and running enthusiast had to say:

Tell us about yourself!

I live in Kent with my wife and two daughters. I’m originally from the North East of England but found myself in Kent with work after university in 1999. Who knew that meeting my wife Nicky back in 1999 would lead to putting down my roots here and settling down!

I’m an accountant running my own business, Bink Financial, which keeps me out of trouble during the working week. Outside of that, I have a passion for pretty much anything outdoors. That includes walking, golf and running (of course!). I also have a passion for listening to music and love watching live music whenever I can. I can’t wait for live gigs to restart again and have tickets for rearranged events to look forward to, Aerosmith and The Black Crowes in particular!

My family are my world, so I also make as much time as possible to spend time with them, as they are the reason that I jump out of bed each day.

“It was a no brainer for me to want to raise awareness and funds for Grassroots, giving the amazing work and support that they provide.”

Why are you running for Grassroots?

I became a Board Trustee of Grassroots in November 2020 and discovered the opportunity to run the 2021 Brighton Marathon during a Trustee Board meeting. It was a no brainer for me to want to raise awareness and funds for Grassroots, giving the amazing work and support that they provide. Especially during these challenging times with COVID, the need to raise awareness of suicide issues and prevention is paramount. So if I can help in any way with that, then it’s the least that I can do.

How long have you been running? What does it mean to you?

I have always been an active person, paying football in my younger years. When I first became a dad in 2006, I slipped into the predictable phase of too much eating and drinking and not enough moving. The growing waistline and feeling of lethargy crept up on me and in 2014, I decided enough was enough!

I entered the 2014 Great North Run and began training for it in April 2014. I still vividly remember the very first training “run”. I was not long an ex-smoker, so a 30 minute “run” was broken up by 4 separate occasions of having to stop to cough my guts up. It really wasn’t a pleasant experience, nor sight for any poor passers-by!

Fast forward to September 2014 and I completed the half marathon in 2 hours 15 minutes, which I was more than pleased with. It also had personal meaning for me, as it starts in Newcastle (where I went to school) and finishes in South Shields (where I lived before I went to university), so it was just like being back home.

After that, I was hooked on running. It’s my escape, my ‘me’ time, where I can be alone with my thoughts. I’m always amazed by how you can start a run with no intention of thinking about a particular issue, puzzle, or problem and then by the time you have finished the run, the solutions have presented themselves! It’s like magic and shows the true power of the sub-conscious mind.

As someone who has suffered with anxiety for a long time, running is my go-to activity for release and relief from any mental health angst I may be facing.

Have you started training for your event? If so, how is it going?

I have officially started my training and it’s a case of so far, so good. I don’t always get to run on the planned days because of life being life, but I’ve learnt to roll with it and fit it in when I can. It has a habit of all sorting itself out in the end.

What are you looking forward to about your run? What are you nervous about, if anything?

I’m really looking forward to the atmosphere and really do hope that people are allowed to take to the streets by September 2021 to show their support and cheers the runners and riders on. The tricky little climb sections on any run always make me nervous. Hill training sessions are my least favourite part of training!

Want to join the Grassroots Runners and be part of our community of dedicated fundraisers?

Sign up here

Did you know 1 in 5 people will have suicidal thoughts at some point in their lives?

With your generosity, we can help people stay safe and provide the support they need in times of crisis