Mind over Marathon, BBC1: ten people with mental health disorders take on the London marathon

Ben Travis
Epic challenge: Nick Knowles, the Royals, and the Mind over Marathon runners: BBC

The London Marathon proves an inspirational watch every year – seeing the streets filled with supporters, and witnessing the determination of those fit (or foolish) enough to attempt the 26 mile run.

If you've ever been tempted to try it yourself, you’ll feel even more like signing up after watching the BBC’s Mind Over Marathon.

This two-part documentary follows ten volunteers suffering from mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, and PTSD, and challenges them to train for the epic race.

It’s a show with admirable intentions, contributing to the growing conversation over mental health and discussing the benefits of exercise on mental wellbeing.

“It’s estimated that one in four adults will need professional help for mental health problems at some stage of their life. It’s a massive issue,” says presenter Nick Knowles. “Chances are, we all know someone who’s suffering.

“Exercise can help with mental health issues. I’ve set the volunteers, each battling their own mental health problems, the ultimate running challenge: completing the 2017 London Marathon.”

Along the way, we hear about the runners’ experiences as they open up about their conditions.

“I definitely needed to learn what I was going through,” says Shereece, who suffered from post-natal depression. “It was new to me, growing up in the household I grew up in everyone likes positivity.”

Also making an appearance are Prince William, Duchess Kate Middleton, and Prince Harry who are promoting their charity Heads Together.

“The whole point of the campaign with the marathon, I think we really just want to reduce the stigma,” William says. “We want people to talk about mental health like it’s perfectly normal.”

Mind over Marathon is the perfect warm up to the main event – especially if you’re not planning on experiencing it from your sofa next year.

BBC One, 9pm