RAF News

Mental Health Awareness Week: Running for the Front Line

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and this year’s theme is kindness. This week we’re sharing stories of acts of kindness within the RAF family during the coronavirus lockdown.

An RAF officer is going solo for his first half marathon to fundraise for NHS Charities Together, to support those like his wife who are working on the coronavirus front line.

Flight Lieutenant Luke Foster was supposed to take part in the Great Manchester Run on 24th May – the last day of Mental Health Awareness Week – but this has been cancelled due to the current lockdown.

Despite this, the Space Operations Crew Commander from RAF Fylingdales will go ahead with his ‘race’ and run a half marathon by himself on Whitby Beach.

Anna and Luke Foster

Luke has been inspired to fundraise for those on the COVID-19 front line after seeing his wife work long hours in full PPE at their local care home.

“My wife has gone from helping out every now and then to working longer days than I do in full PPE, trying to get them through this particularly challenging time.

“I wanted to fundraise for NHS Charities Together because I’ve seen how much the NHS has in common with the RAF: people wearing a different uniform are making the same sacrifices at the drop of a hat. They’ve stepped up and done what they need to do at the most difficult time.”

Flight Lieutenant Luke Foster

Alongside the difficulty everyone is facing right now, Luke has seen some acts of kindness, especially in terms of attitudes towards mental health.

“Many people aren’t well equipped to live in isolation, but people are taking much more interest in how each other is doing. Now when we ask, ‘how are you?’, we actually mean it. It’s not a throwaway comment anymore.”

Anna in PPE

Luke has been putting in the hours to his running training, but the half marathon will be his first long-distance running attempt.

“Going solo will be an extra layer to the challenge, because I was expecting it to be a big event with all the fanfare that does spur you on. I don’t imagine setting an impressive time, though I suspect my two labs will chase me forward at the finish!”   

If you want to support Luke’s effort, you can visit his JustGiving page.

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