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A bored teacher keen to get back to the pub with his mates has vowed to run to the boozer every day until they’re open again.

Ollie Ripley, known as Mr Ripley to his student’s at St Andrews Catholic School in Leatherhead, has come up with the genius idea to run to the pub every day until lockdown lifts and they’re open again.

The novice runner said his usual route ends at a pub in Woking, where he lives with his girlfriend, and it seemed like a good way to keep spirits up in lockdown.

Afraid of what his friends might think if he attempted the challenge on Instagram, Ollie began documenting his runs on TikTok, where he now has over 4,000 followers as The Pub Runner and hundreds of likes on each post.

Speaking to Daily Star, Ollie said the challenge is all in aid of raising awareness about mental health and has even started a Just Giving Page for the charity Mind.

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Ollie said he believes mental health is "very relevant" at the moment as we all struggle to cope with lockdown.

He himself has had difficulties, he told the Star, and didn’t realise how much he had been affected by the lack of good weather and staying inside until the snow fell.

Mr Ripley said: "Mental health is something that is very relevant at the moment, a lot of people are struggling.

"I have, my friends have, it’s on a lot of people’s minds, and we’re at a point where a lot of people have the potential to be helped at the moment.

"It’s dreary at the moment too, I didn’t realise how much I’d been struggling until the snow day and I went outside and played in the white stuff."

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Like many Brits, Ollie has missed heading down the pub with his mates, "not getting smashed," seeing friends and having a laugh.

Ollie said: "It’s about the craic, seeing friends and having fun, not getting smashed but having a laugh and a few beers.

"There’s a few things that are beneficial to mental health and that’s exercise and socialising, so I feel like running to the pub, even if I can’t go in, is a bit of a mix of that."

The thought of the challenge not taking off did worry Ollie at first as if it "had flopped then my mates would have mocked me," but added that the lads are all supportive now and have even donated.

He joked: "If it did well then great, if it didn’t then I wouldn’t have to tell anyone, that’s why I chose TikTok, my mates wouldn’t have been able to mock me.

"They all know now though and I send the videos to them every day, they’re behind it, enthusiastic, and a friend of mine even designed the logo."

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Ollie plans on going to different pubs on his runs, increasing the distance every time, and has even ran and filmed with his dad who he lived with during the first lockdown.

He said: "In the first lockdown me and my dad ran together a lot, and in the second lockdown I got really lazy and it was really easy to not get out an about.

"Now it’s taken off it is something nice for me and my dad to do together, I moved out in September so I think he misses me.

"He’s a fan favourite so I’ll have to bring him back in at some point, the videos with him went down well."

The challenge isn’t just for social media though, the teacher said he would like to put his body to the test too, and hopes it’ll inspire people to go on their own runs.

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Ollie is certainly inspiring his students who have found him on TikTok and regularly comment on his videos, which have featured him running with a frying pan on Pancake Day, and drinking a glass of wine on National Drink Wine Day.

Some of them have said “hi Sir,” others supportive of his runs and several can’t believe he’s on the app, he said.

The teacher said the overall response has been “amazing” but admits he does get some funny looks while filming.

He told the Star: "My pupils do know, if you scroll through the comments a lot of them are like hi sir and some have found it and have commented and are supportive, which is nice.

"The response has been amazing. The messages that I’ve had have been so positive, whether it’s from friends and family or people on the internet, it is all just really really positive."

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Ollie is raising money for Mind and hopes to raise at least a “couple of thousand pounds” for the charity.

He said: "I don’t have a set goal but I’d love to raise a couple of thousand of pounds for Mind.

"That would be sensation, I don’t want to get ahead of myself though, if there’s more that’s great, but I want to hit something realistic for Mind."

Ollie has already raised over £1,000 on his Just Giving Page, if you’d like to follow along on his TikTok journey click here, or you can donate here.

  • Pubs
  • Coronavirus

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