Marathon Man

Sonja Polimac

 · 02/06/2020  · 02/06/2020

Revolut’s Mike Swinyard woke up one summer day in June 2019 and wanted a challenge. He started out thinking he would run a marathon, but as he browsed upcoming races Europe, he couldn't decide which one he wanted to do. “They all sounded so exciting, that I just decided I would run ten marathons, and they all ended up being within six months!”

He ran his first marathon on 19th January in Madeira, but it wasn’t an easy journey getting there. The training process was gruelling, with lots of injuries and plenty of lessons learned. However, Mike believes that this challenge has changed the way he approaches life and work: “It’s made me far more patient; I now try to lay a proper foundation for everything that I do and build things up slowly.” The Revolut mentality of “people said it was impossible, but we did it anyway” is definitely mirrored in Mike’s story. He blocked out the people that told him he would never be able to run ten marathons when he hadn’t even run one before, and instead just kept training. For Mike, it’s not about a record pace, it’s about getting to the finish line. February will see marathon number three completed in Seville.

“It’s made me far more patient; I now try to lay a proper foundation for everything that I do and build things up slowly.”

But Mike’s motivation isn’t just about finding a challenge and pushing himself. His aim was to raise money for a charity very close to his heart: Ned’s Fund. After Ned, a family friend, took his life in 2017, his family set up a fund devoted to supporting charities which offers young people vocational training to discover themselves and and find their true potential.

With a focus on young people between the ages of 12 and 24, their efforts target a very vulnerable and underserved portion of the population. With this week designated Children’s Mental Health Week in the UK and further afield, it’s important to focus on preventing tragic outcomes such as those which have affected Ned and his family. Mike talks about how Ned found traditional education understimulating, which made him disruptive as a result. Engaging young people on their own terms is important to understanding how to help them, but often these efforts are underfunded.

As Mike runs across Europe, that motivation is never far from his mind. The challenge can be tough at times, but he’s found that the flexibility of working at Revolut helps him when it comes to training and travelling. Working from home one day a week and the ability to arrange his working hours has meant that he’s able to train in the mornings and then shift his working hours to stay a little later each evening. As Mike chose his ten marathons from all over Europe, travelling to and from means taking at least one day off work per marathon. With 29 days of holiday a year, Mike has the flexibility to travel to and from marathons, and still reward himself with a well-deserved holiday when he’s finished!

Now that he’s caught the runner’s bug, we asked Mike what’s next for him, “It would be great to get our Rev-Runners group organised in London and set up a weekly running club”. He’s enjoyed this adventure so much that it’s developed into a passion for life, but raising £2,000 for Ned’s Fund would be his biggest reward.

Donate to Mike's cause here!