Meet The crew

It takes more than one person to run the country; it takes a whole crew. Matt is being helped by a group of dedicated people, who all share his ambition for the challenge and the purpose behind it.

Mags Dempsey

Founder and Mountain Strong Head Coach at Play in the Wild UK.

“It’s the unexpected mountains that make you stronger.


Matt says

I knew when I conceived the Run the Country Ultra that I wouldn’t be able to complete a 1000km+ endurance challenge without a brilliant team of supporters, friends and sponsors. There also needed to be a core team, working very closely, to get this body across all the trails, over all the mountains and sustain focus and resilience mile after mile, day after day.

At the heart of this team is my coach. I am really happy to be working with Mags Dempsey – @magsmay_d on Instragram. Maggie is an accomplished runner, the founder of @playinthewilduk – an event for a community of trail runners – and ambassador for a flurry of brilliant brands who support her sport.

What attracted me to working with Maggie is multi-faceted. She is generous and kind with a passion for running. She’s also very straightforward and straight talking. She is far more aware of my undertaking than I am, with her background in the elite running world and around multi-day events. She can pre-empt what my body will have to endure, as well as what I have to manage in my mind.

She is also someone who asks for discipline. She makes it quite clear that this is down to me, she cannot make me train, she cannot make me condition. She can only illuminate the path to success, I have to run it.

I expect highs and lows – in training and on the run. Strong days and tears. Mostly mine. What I know is that Maggie will endure.

Michelle Flynn

Certified Health Coach, Co-pilot

“Matt is my husband and I have seen his struggles with his mental health and how he works every day to strengthen it so I wanted to help raise money to support others to do the same.”

Matt says
“It’s fair to say that I wouldn’t be doing this if I wasn’t’t fully supported by my wife Michelle. This isn’t just a sacrifice of a month to drive from race to race but of a year or two in preparation and all the highs and lows that go with that. Tolerating the very early morning starts and the piles of running kit washing all over the house, waiting in the middle of nowhere for me to turn up… the list goes on. I chose to join Michelle on her health journey and I’m delighted she is so heavily involved in mine through this challenge.”

Nicky and Grant McGill

PT's and RTCU route creators

“Our day job is to encourage people to move more. So it was a natural progression to embrace route planning for Matt. Suicide is one of the last taboo subjects and we wanted to help Matt spread the word loud and proud. Firstly to encourage people to talk about suicide and secondly to increase awareness of the help CALM offer to those who may need their support.”

Matt says

“The Routemeister extraordinaire!

Nicky @ptnickymcgill is a self-proclaimed obsessive sports person with a special fondness for running, A Physical Training coach and founder of @secretrunclub

Nicky has an incredibly important role in the team; She has, along with Grant, planned every run route across the many counties of England, forming the foundations on which everything else – the interviews, activations, events, feed station and sleep – will be built. With 21 ultramarathons to design, every trail, every elevation and every rest stop will be critical. Fortunately Nicky has an expert knowledge of racing all over the UK, having years of experience of competition and building running communities.

Trust is a core part of team building. I know that I can trust Nicky because runners know runners; she will understand exactly what one day will feel like after the last and before the next. And because she shares a common ambition; to get around 1050kms of The Run The Country Ultra in one piece.”

Jo Bradley

Local Activation Lead. Research Storyteller for Myles Associates Ltd

“I am thrilled to be a part of the crew for this exciting project. Not only are we raising awareness for CALM, but we are helping to connect the fantastic groups and clubs that are also working hard to support good mental health, in their local communities. So, long after Matt has put away his trainers, I hope that the people we meet along the way will keep talking to one another and feel inspired to work together. After all, together we are stronger and can achieve so much.”

Matt says

“Jo is playing a fundamental role in the crew, activating organisations across every county of England and asking them to get involved. In fact, Jo is the person who had the idea that the run was all about making these critical connections across local boundaries and creating a legacy. Her ambition is that the connections made last well beyond the run itself and I am sure with her energy and enthusiasm, we will achieve that.

Hamish Church

Logistics or Transport Engagement Executive

“Just happy to help Matt make a real difference with his support for CALM.”

Matt says

“Hamish has stepped up to the challenge of driving someway across the English countryside and finding me in the middle of nowhere for food stops and ferrying me at the end of the day to the start of the next. As well as this vital role, Hamish is a kind and calming influence over the project, bringing a steady pragmatism to my chaotic approach to everything That and a brilliant fresh pair of eyes to everything we write – invaluable!”

Simon Edwards

photographer, filmmaker and artist

Simon is a creative professional with a sideways view of the world, never happier than when playing with images and telling stories.

“I’ve had my own battles with mental health over the years. I think that the work that CALM does is vital and deserves all the support it can get. I jumped at the chance to be involved in the project and support matt’s aims for the challenge. “

Matt says

“Sedders has a great eye and sees beautiful in the everyday. He has the skills to capture people in movement and a kind way of going about his craft. It’s a pleasure to have him on board and I am sure we will experience – and capture – a lot together. “

And More lovely people to come...

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