Actor and campaigner, Haleem Clift, works hard to advocate for men’s mental heath after battling with addiction in his teens. On 25 September, he will take on his latest challenge by running the Half Marathon at this year’s Great Bristol Run.
Now 20 years-old, Haleem began using drugs at the age of 13. By taking things “one day at a time”, he’s been clean for the past four years and recognises that his drug use was a result of the struggles he faced with his mental health.
Haleem is from Taunton, Somerset, and works with charities including Mind and the Charlie Waller Trust to share his story and reach out to others who may be experiencing similar challenges. He’s visited a number of schools, colleges and companies to help raise awareness of mental health issues – and the help available – and is a facilitator for retreats and workshops for men.
For Haleem, running has become an important part of looking after his own mental health.
“Running definitely impacts on my mental health, as it’s a natural antidepressant. As well as releasing a massive amount of endorphins, there’s also the serotonin and dopamine hit you get,” says Haleem.
“I’ve always enjoyed running and whenever I can find the time to run, I’ll do it. Although it’s always easier to get out for a run in the summer when the weather’s milder!”
After taking part in a 10k race last year, Haleem is looking forward to the Half Marathon.
“Whenever I join a race, I try not to be too serious about it and just enjoy the experience. I want to see how well I can do, but more importantly I just want to have a good time!”
An inclusive celebration of running, the Great Bristol Run also includes a 10k and the Great Bristol Family Run. Starting and finishing in the heart of the city, the route weaves past the vibrant waterfront, plus beautiful Queens Square, historical Castle Park and Old City. This year, runners can look forward to a live start line DJ, pumping out a high energy set to help them find their groove for the challenge ahead.
And for the first time, an Après Run zone in Millennium Square will feature more great music, as well as food and drink stalls, ensuring the celebrations continue long past the finish line.
For more information on the Great Bristol Run, including entry details, visit: www.greatrun.org/events/great-bristol-run/