NC500 Run – 2023

My Story

For 20 years I was a professional footballer, so pushing my body to its limit was a daily part of life. Now a recreational runner, I run marathons and ultramarathons.

I love it, hate it, in equal measures, but I know I need it.

Not many understand, thankfully my wife does, just.

Because 14 years ago, I sat in a dressing room of a football club for the last time, and like every professional player before me and after me, leaving the bubble of professional sport is tough.

In the time since that day, I have been a football manager, leading a team out at Wembley in 2010, lost it all, including a property portfolio of 21 properties, become a personal trainer and opened up my own Gym and Wellness centre, become a Goal Setting and Life coach and now run a coaching business.

It’s taken me 14 years to find my purpose, to find my place, like every player, it is a tough transition when you come to the end of our playing career. Even with financial security, family, children, even if you walk into a job straight from the end of your career, it is still difficult. The graph isn’t a straight line, as we see depicted on social media.

I’m blessed to be able to still move, I can run, I can cycle, I can swim, I can lift weights in the gym, and as long as I can move, then I will move, every single day, every day I will go out and exercise, I count myself as being extremely lucky being able to still move at 50 years old.Exercise along with other coping mechanisms has enabled me to keep the wolves of mental health from my door.

Others are not so lucky.

The Issue

Life is tough for everyone, not all day every day, but in varying amounts and degrees, no one lives a life of eternal happiness, a life of perfection, it simply doesn’t exist.

The statistics bear that out:

* 35% of people will experience mental health issues over their lifetime.

* Over the course of someone’s lifetime, 1 in 15 people attempt suicide.

*Statistics form the Mental Health Foundation.

We are seeing a growing mental health problem in the world of professional sport, not just football, but across all sports the pressures, the strain, the voices, come at a cost to many.

  • Anthony Joshua – Boxer
  • Tyson Fury – Boxer
  • Simone Biles – Olympic Gymnast
  • Lewis Hamilton – F1 Driver
  • George Russell – F1 Driver

The list goes on and on and on

I’m not seeking sympathy, for ex-sportsmen and women, I’m highlighting that no one is exempt, we all have a mental health, just like we all have a physical health.

Mental health is extremely complex, and I’m not for one minute saying that I am an expert, but this much we do know, nobody wants to struggle with mental health issues, nobody wants to be off work with mental health issues, nobody doesn’t want to live a life of fulfilment because of mental health issues, they don’t want to struggle with the routine of life, they don’t want to find it difficult to speak about their issue, for fear that no one will listen, or will not understand.

Most of us want two things in life happiness and longevity, both of them don’t exist eternally, we don’t live forever, our time is finite, and we can never be happy all of the time, this is not an eternal state.

So why am I reaching out here today?

Because rather than struggle in and struggle on, I run, and run, and run some more.

Raising money in the process seems a worthy cause.

The Challenge

So, in June and July this year I will run Scotland iconic loop, the NC500

The run will be motivated using the 2 statistics listed above, 35 & 15.

To date there is not much evidence of many having completed this.

I can only find 2 others having completed the full distance as a run.

516 miles of coastal roads

15 ultramarathons in 15 days

Averaging 35 miles a day

Starting on Friday 30th June – Inverness Castle

Finishing on Friday 14th July – Inverness Castle

I will be running the NC500 for Mental Health UK

Looking to raise – £500,000

This is my vision.

The Big Ask

I‘m calling on every professional football player to make a contribution, each club to match the contribution from their players, if every player joined in, every club matched the contribution of the players, I would be nearly there.


It is always difficult asking for money, but I’ve tried raising money by asking for it, and I’ve tried raising money without asking for it,

I always seem to raise more when I ask for it.


I will be looking to both the world of professional sport, and corporate sponsors to reach the audacious target.


A big ask I know but:

If every Premier League player put in £200 and their club matched that amount

£200 x 30 x 2 x 20 = £240,000

If every Championship player put in £100 and their club matched that amount

£100 x 25 x 2 x 24 = £120,000

If every League One player put in £50 and the club matched that amount

£50 x 20 x 2 x 24 = £48,000

If every League Two player put in £25 and the club matched that amount

£25 x 20 x 2 x 24 = £24,000

Total – £432,000

 (£per player x players in squad x Players + Club contribution x No of clubs in league)

For the Love of Pain, Suffering and the Mental Health of me, and the support of others.

If you are interested in sponsorship

I need you.

Thank you.

Nicky Forster


Click here to support this challenge

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Let’s do it!