A FORMER South African police officer, now living in Edinburgh, is raising funds for Support in Mind Scotland, and awareness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), by undertaking a series of running and cycling challenges throughout 2017.

Marius Pelser spent nine years working for a specialist unit within the South African Police Service before he moved to Scotland in 2003 with his wife and two children.

"During 2016 I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of my former career," said Marius. "My diagnosis ticked all the boxes - re-experiencing (flashbacks), disassociation, hyper arousal (living on the edge) and anxiety, and as an added extra I also developed some OCD tendencies.

"I am fortunate that my symptoms are manageable and have less effect on my life than I have seen in some of my former colleagues and also the lives of servicemen, woman and first responders such as police, fire and other emergency services. here in the UK. In my view PTSD is an injury and not an illness or disorder but I am sure that some clever people will disagree."

Following his diagnosis, Marius agreed with professional advice that physical exercise could provide a positive form of therapy, and he has quickly discovered this healthy approach of releasing endorphins and keeping fit is helping his mental health.

At the start of the year, Marius challenged himself to undertake a number of events throughout the year, and as part of his training he ran a 10K at Cramond Foreshore on Sunday, 12 March.

Marius said: "I have decided to challenge myself in 2017 and have entered a number of events so far. I would like to take these opportunities to get the message out there that mental injuries, such as PTSD affect a lot of people - not just the Forces - and hopefully by raising money for Support in Mind Scotland I can help contribute to ensure the service provided by staff and volunteers can continue."

Next up on 9 April is the Kilomathon - a 13.1 kilometre run from Ocean Terminal, which finishes inside the home of Scottish Rugby, BT Murrayfield Stadium, then the Edinburgh Half Marathon on 28 May. 

Marius also enjoys getting out and about on his bike, and he has signed up to a number of cycling challenges: the Brewin Dolphin Ochil Hills Mini Sportive on 3 June; Pedal for Scotland on 10 September, and a 50-mile cycle taking in Dunbar and Edinburgh.

"One of my aims is to get fit enough, and work on my swimming fitness, so I can perhaps enter a novice triathlon in the future," he added.



We will be keeping you posted of Marius's inspirational efforts throughout the year. He has created a fundraising page on Just Giving and you can sponsor him and send your best wishes by clicking the link below:

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/MariusPelser-ptsd

You can also track his training and events through his profile on Strava: https://www.strava.com/athletes/marius_pelser