And the winner of the Tour de France is…….Peter Thompson!

Okay, not quite, but the British man did cross the finish line first after covering 2,082 miles through the Alps and Pyrenees mountain ranges. However, he didn’t do it on two thin wheels. He did it on foot.

Thompson began his 68-day run, that included 45,000 meters of climbing, on May 19. One of his goals was to finish before the Tour de France cyclists completed their final stage (set for July 29), and by running 30 miles a day, he did just that, completing his ultra-run on July 25.

But his main mission while pounding the pavement all over France was to raise money for mental health charities, an effort he dubbed “Marathons for the Mind.”

He set the mark at £20,000, and at the time of this writing, he has raised more than £18,000.

That money will go to Livability’s ‘Flourish’ project, a community-based treatment program in Dorset, a county in southwest England, that offers people struggling with mental illness gardening therapy, arts and ceramics, bird watching, and camping opportunities. Additionally, the funds will go to Mind, a charity that’s supported more than 513,000 people in England and Wales with services such as supported housing, crisis helplines, drop-in centers, employment and training programs and counseling. He will also direct money to Dorset Mind, which educates people about symptoms and how to handle them.



By running the Tour’s entire course, Thompson became the second person to complete the challenge. The first was American runner Zoe Romano, who did it in 2013.

Thompson began training six months ago, and he topped out at 80 to 90 miles per week to help get him ready. Still, he knew his body would have to adapt to the heavy-duty miles day after day.

“You don’t run 30 miles a day even when you train a lot,” Thompson told Runner’s World . “You have to adjust physically and mentally. Every day, I have the muscle soreness as if I’ve just run a marathon, and I’m really tired and hurting.”

He would wake up at 6:00 a.m. each day and log the miles with his girlfriend supporting him from their car. They slept in hotels, friends’ homes and, at times, they would camp.

This wasn’t the first long-haul run for Thompson. A year ago, he ran 44 marathons in 44 consecutive days in each one of Europe’s 44 countries. Along the way, he raised more than £19,000  for Livability and Mind.

For as much as Thompson loves running now, it’s hard to believe it was once a “double-edged sword” for him.

“After the breakup of a relationship back in 2015, the need to question certain parts of my life made me realize that my focus and determination to constantly improve as a runner was almost all consuming,” he wrote. “Running over 100 miles a week and often training twice a day had taken me to a point where it was impacting my life for the worst and it was simply no longer fun.

“The constant need to over-analyze my performance, trying to work out when I could fit in my next run, thinking about exactly what and when I needed to eat, and the overwhelming feeling of guilt that would come if I missed a session, had got too much.”

He backed off the sport so he could re-calibrate, and once he got going again and planned some unorthodox challenges, he rediscovered the joy running brought him.



Not only that, but by continuing to put one foot in front of the other, even when physically exhausted, perhaps those affected by mental illness can be inspired to do the same.