Stefan in his Rocky eraMarcus Tuchel

For most people, getting up at the crack of dawn and running 13 (yes, thirteen) miles constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. However, there are those among us who, for a multitude of reasons, have decided to spend their Sunday morning (05/03) panting, sweating and praying to God that their calves hold out until the end of the race. Varsity spoke to them to learn why.

One intrepid runner is Adam Moogan. Adam is attempting to run the half marathon on Sunday, having spent his Saturday afternoon playing rugby league Varsity, and therefore being pummeled from pillar to post for 80 minutes. Adam says there’s no chance of him being substituted on Saturday, as the team has only 4 subs. Is he worried about getting injured, given the fact his body will be pushed to its limit on both days? If worst comes to worst, he says, “I’ll just walk round”, which shows a commitment to realism in between the masochism. Adam’s optimism and seemingly boundless energy is shared by Alex Burns, a member of the university’s Hare and Hounds Running Club.

“If worst comes to worst, he says, ‘I’ll just walk round’, which shows a commitment to realism in between the masochism.”

Alex is also running the half marathon on tired legs. On Saturday, he will be “hopefully breaking a 5k personal best” in a college running league event. On Sunday he’s pacing the half marathon for his dad, who is also trying to achieve a new personal best. Such dutiful commitment is matched by Louis Pettitt, who instead of stuffing pasta down his throat in a vain attempt at carbloading, will be spending the night before singing in a Japanese opera in Trinity Chapel. Louis “chose to do the half marathon” before he knew he was in the Opera. He says: “by the time I got cast I’d already paid for my place,” and it was too late to pull out by that point. Running and singing both require good lung capacity, so it’s possible that Louis’ hobbies will be mutually beneficial. He’s “hoping it won’t harm the race” but he admits “it’s been stressful learning the music this week” so he’s had “quite a few sleepless nights!” – hardly ideal race preparation.


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Not everyone is running the race with such frivolity though. Lexa Newman is “running this Sunday in aid of British Heart Foundation in memory of my dad who passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in April of last year.” Her dad died of sudden cardiac death, despite being a snowboard instructor, a nonsmoker and essentially teetotal. He cheered her on in the race last year and she is running “for him, and to help fund research into heart and circulatory diseases”.

A similarly tragic event motivated Stefan Tuchel to take part in the race. In Easter term last year he lost a friend to suicide. He says: “when the long vac hit, I had a downward spiral. Summer was full of acute anxiety and panic attacks — I was afraid to leave the house and, when I did, I had to carry my anti-panic-attack kit (an inhaler, earphones, sunglasses, and a water bottle). I would, regularly, run off to the loo just to be alone out of fear of anxiety.” He decided he wanted to raise money for PAPYRUS, a charity dedicated to preventing youth suicides. His campaigning on social media gave him a sense of purpose and he’s “had such an incredible reaction from all this”, both through fundraising and through the honest coversations his posts have instigated. While he was personally “incredibly lucky to have a marvellous therapist throughout summer and friends with whom I felt very comfortable speaking about my mental health”, he knows many men who aren’t. “It isn’t too late,” he insists, “for the thousands who kill themselves each year in the UK alone and the many more who are living in misery too afraid to turn to anyone”. From the start of his campaign, all he has hoped for is his voice to have an effect on someone. This thought keeps him going, both in his campaign and in training for the race.

Stefan’s fundraising page:

Lexa’s fundraising page:

In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123, or email can be contacted by calling 0800 068 4141, texting 07860 039 967, or emailing