Travel Gallery director targets £3k for Mind after marathon run

Travel Gallery business development director Oli Dobbs has raised nearly £2,500 for a mental health charity by running the London Marathon – but still hopes to raise more funds.

Dobbs, who works for his family’s tour operator and travel agency business, is determined to hit £3,000 for Mind UK after reaching £2,400, smashing his original target of £2,000.

He chose the charity because of the support they gave him during a dark time in his personal life, when Dobbs, who is on the council of The Specialist Travel Association (Aito) and on the Aito Agents panel, struggled with his own mental health.

“The charity means so much to me as they helped me through a tough time breaking up with my ex,” he said.

He finished the London Marathon, held last Sunday, in a time of four hours and 44 minutes.

“It was by far the hardest thing I have ever done physically, emotionally or mentally,” he admitted, adding: “I went to some dark places as I ran and thought I might quit at one point but I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. Seeing friends and family on the route made me cry but gave me such strength to keep pushing.”

Dobbs said the memory of the last two miles of the course was “spinetingling”, adding: “It’s a feeling and memory that will live with me for ever. The sense of achievement and well done messages is overwhelming. It was a spinetingling last 15 minutes that I will never forget.

“Muscles I didn’t even know I had have hurt for the last two days and I’m mentally and physically drained now.”

Dobbs said the five months of pre-marathon training had been “testing and mentally draining” after three knee surgeries but credited his partner Kim Zimmer for her support throughout to help him keep going.

He thanked those in the travel industry who had already donated towards his cause, adding he would he “100%” run a marathon again for charity.

His next challenge should be slightly less draining but just as rewarding – he is leading his first fam trip on behalf of Travel Gallery to take five travel agents on an eight-day experiential trip to Sri Lanka in two weeks’ time.

To help him reach his £3,000 goal, visit his fundraising page.

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