Anyone who has run a marathon knows just how difficult it is. The grueling training, managing your diet, avoiding injury, and then preparing carefully so you can give it everything on the big day.
Now, imagine trying to do all of that, while becoming homeless at the same time. That is what happened to Sean, 24, who completed this year’s London marathon despite being forced to leave his home just three weeks before the race.
“It has been really isolating. I never felt complete in the home that I was in, and over the years I was kicked out then let back in a few times. In the past I have slept in my car, but this time I couldn’t do that. Friends and other family members let me stay with them, but I struggled to get a good night’s sleep and had to keep moving around. I was eating really badly because I had no money and I even got food poisoning – I had to go to the doctors and have injections.”
After several weeks, and just a few days before the marathon, he was referred by Croydon council to our Somewhere Safe to Stay Hub. This was after he had to spend a night on the streets.
“I don’t want to do that again, you wouldn’t wish it on anyone. It feels so much better when you have somewhere safe to sleep. I was given my room a few days before the marathon, and it is good to know that I won’t be kicked out and be on the street.”
In spite of all the challenges and uncertainty Sean still managed to take part in the race, finishing it and even raising money for Cancer Research at the same time.
“Having the room gave me somewhere to rest. It wasn’t the preparation you would want, but I told myself that I could still do it, and I was right. I also want to thank Naked dough by Romeo for feeding me the day before the race. It felt great to complete it, and to raise more money than expected for charity.”
Now, with this success under his belt, he is looking at what comes next.
“I want to work in the fitness industry. I first became interested in fitness during the pandemic. Before that I was in a dark place, in a bad cycle with bad people around me. Through everything exercise has been so helpful – and I really appreciate having somewhere like the Feel Good Factory where I train. I like fitness spaces, they are places where everyone gets on, trains and supports each other. I want to be a part of that. People have tried to pull me down, but I want to train people and build them up instead.
It’s not easy though. I have tried to explain my current situation to people when applying for new jobs – I have poured my heart out, but people don’t always understand. It takes an open minded person to hear what I am going through and be supportive, rather than looking away.”
It has been a really hectic year so far, but I want to get myself sorted out and enjoy the summer. I have a chance to get out and leave the past behind, and I am going to take it.”
If you want to know more about our Somewhere Safe to Stay Hub, click here.