On your mark, get set, go! Prince William vowed to run a marathon in Kenya after announcing plans for his, brother Prince Harry and Duchess Kate’s mental health charity, Heads Together, during a London press event Tuesday, January 17.
After making impassioned speeches on the topic of mental health to an audience of journalists, media personalities, charity workers and businesses leaders at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, Duchess Kate and princes William, 34, and Harry, 32, met withy various TV personalities who will be running the Virgin Money London Marathon this April for eight mental health charities.
Good Morning Britain presenter Sean Fletcher, who is running the 26.2-mile course for the charity YoungMinds after his 13-year-old son was recently diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, revealed that he “chatted to Prince William and he has promised that he will run a marathon in Kenya sometime.”
He jokingly added: “Then I spoke to Kate and she said, ‘I’ll believe it when I see it.’”
Kidding aside, Fletcher told the crowd that he and the Duke of Cambridge were able to connect because they are both fathers. “This is all very new to me; I’m learning very fast because of my son’s situation,” he explained. “William’s understanding was incredible but also his sympathy and empathy with me. He asked me lots of questions. I’ve never met him before, but he’s such a warm man. Like two dads talking together.”
The royals are not running the London Marathon for security reasons but will be cheering the athletes from the sidelines.
During their speeches, William, Harry and Kate spoke about the importance of lending their support to mental health causes.
“Mental health matters to each and every one of us. It matters just as much as our physical health. The crews I have worked with, whether RAF Search and Rescue or Air Ambulance, must take their mental health as seriously as they do their physical health or else they would not cope — and, actually, that is true for everybody at some time or another in their life,” William said. “There are times when, whoever we are, it is hard to cope with challenges — and when that happens, being open and honest and asking for help is life-changing.”
Added Harry: “It has been unbelievably encouraging to see that attitudes towards mental health across the country are beginning to change. In the past, the phrase ‘mental health’ would be translated to mental illness. But thankfully that is changing! As a result of family, school or work pressures, everyone’s lives are lived at a frightening pace and these stresses can often seem overwhelming.”
Kate said that she, her husband and her brother-in-law have seen firsthand how opening up the dialogue about mental health can be beneficial.
“William, Harry and I have been very privileged to witness in the course of our work countless examples of simple conversations that have changed lives, which were the first step on a path to recovery. Just last week at the Anna Freud Centre, I heard from one mother how talking to a support worker was — in her words — like medicine. Simply by having someone there to have a conversation with helped her immensely.”
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