Michael's 5k Spring Challenge: Friendship and community have been such a big part in my recovery and fitness journey

May 2024 | 7 minutes

Alcohol Change UK ambassador, Michael Sargood, is using the Spring Challenge for Sober Spring as an opportunity to get outdoors, get fit and get happy.

Having struggled with depression during the autumn and winter and seen his weight peak at 15 and a half stone, Sargood, 42, from Southend-on-Sea in Essex, went on a mission to lose weight and get active. His Spring Challenge includes climbing two peaks in the Brecon Beacons and completing a 5k.

Sargood said: "When I was drinking, I used to try to change the way I was feeling by opening a bottle. When I stopped, I found my comfort in food. I've come to realise, if I want to change the way I'm feeling and do it in a healthy way, I need to DO rather than consume something.

"I'd initially intended to carry out my 5k alone, but friends asked if they could join me. Friendship and community have been such a big part in my recovery from addiction so I was delighted that it could be part of my fitness journey too."

On 27 April 2024, Sargood climbed the summit of the amusingly titled "Lord Hereford's Knob" with fellow non-drinkers Natalie Jones, Stuart Appleby and Suzanne Rowcliffe.

They enjoyed the experience so much that they have another climb planned for June, this time a longer and more challenging ascent up the nearby Fan Y Big.

His 5k is planned for Sunday 26 May 2024 on Southend seafront with fellow Alcohol Change UK ambassador, Michael Singh, Alcohol Change UK Community Champion, Craig Jones, Sober is Sexy calendar model, Alex Saville, and non-drinking friend Emily Harwood. It will be followed by a day at the Adventure Island fun fair and some well-deserved fish and chips.

Since training for the 5k and climbs, Michael has lost 1.5stone and gone from being able to run for just 30 seconds to being able to run for 30 minutes. He has also raised over £1,000 for Alcohol Change UK, including Gift Aid.

"I've always disliked exercise and am not a natural athlete," said Sargood. "But I've really enjoyed pushing myself and haven't felt this good for as long as I can remember."

He’s already considering his next challenge, a two-week trek across Offa's Dyke (a 177 mile long walking trail)!

You can donate to Michael’s challenge here

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If you’re interested in doing something for the Spring Challenge (there is still time) or to take on a challenge like Michael to support Alcohol Change UK please contact the team to discuss how we can support you.

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About Michael