This weekend, Kendal endurance athlete Alex Staniforth will be running a staggering 300km route from St Bees, Cumbria to Robin Hood's Bay, Yorkshire.

Traversing the peaks of three national parks, this run stands almost twice as long as any distance Mr Staniforth has ever run before and is meant as a warm-up for a colossal charity effort over the coming year.

Mr Staniforth is leading an attempt to raise £500,000 for the mental health charity Mind Over Mountains with the 'Project 500' campaign.

He said: "We have set ourselves the ambitious target of half a million pounds because we really want to increase the work of the charity to meet the growing demand for mental health support, especially for young adults."

He is now set to motivate a host of individuals, organisations, and schools to join and design their own fundraising challenges or events to help support mental wellbeing.

It is hoped that the £500,000 goal will be reached by June 2025, which coincides with Mr Staniforth's 30th birthday.

He said: "Sadly, too many young adults will not reach that birthday milestone as suicide is the biggest killer among under 35s in the UK."

The charity, Mind Over Mountains, arranges walks and weekend retreats in regions like the Peak District, Lakes and Welsh mountains to help people connect with nature, ultimately boosting their mental health.

This also includes therapeutic activities like mindfulness sessions and provision of qualified coaches and counsellors.

The charity is increasingly collaborating with social prescribing link workers, who work within primary care networks and at GP's practices to help patients with access to free or heavily subsided participation in walks and retreats.

Ian Sansbury, the chief executive of Mind Over Mountains, underlined the vital role played by the charity sector in supporting the NHS.

He said: "Without support from the charity sector, the NHS simply can't keep up with demand.

"Our ambition is to make nature- and activity-based responses to wellbeing the norm, rather than the exception, in mental health care and support."

Recently, the College of Medicine discovered that social prescribing by organisations like Mind Over Mountains could result in 4.5 million fewer GP appointments per year.

These patients would instead receive community-based social solutions, potentially saving the NHS a sum of £275 million.

Alex Staniforth, a 29-year-old record-breaking adventurer, ultra-runner, author and charity founder, has overcome numerous personal challenges.

From surviving the two biggest disasters in Mount Everest history to battling depression, anxiety, epilepsy, stammering and bullying since his school days, he has triumphed over many obstacles.

Mr Staniforth has already raised more than £100,000 for charity, accomplished the title of the fastest person to scale all 100 UK county tops, written two books, and founded Mind Over Mountains in 2020.

He firmly believes in the 'Natural Health Service', a term he coined to emphasise everyone's right to access the outdoors for their mental and physical fitness.

Anyone wishing to donate can do so on Mr Staniforth's fundraising page at