A local rough sleeper and paranoid schizophrenic has reinvented himself as a long distance runner in order to help ease his acute mental health problems.
Lincoln Ainge, 55, who has suffered from bipolar disorder and paranoid schizophrenia all of his life, now runs up to 50 miles a day in order to stay healthy and keep his mind occupied.
He said: “I love getting out in the beautiful countryside to clear my head.
“I recommend it to anybody with mental health issues, it’s much better than stewing inside in your own head.”
“It’s the inactivity which is a real problem for mental health sufferers, and the Government simply hasn’t done enough to engage with people who are suffering. So I get out and go for a run for as long as possible to stay focused.”
Lincoln, who lives in Roland Way Aylesbury, says it was his dissapointment with some of the available services has driven him to running. He has been in seven secure units during his life, and thinks that the Government should do more to help recently-released patients, he said: “You are completely left to fend for yourself once you are out of hospital.”
After he left work as a litter picker for the council, Lincoln was made homeless as he could not afford to pay his rent.
He turned to cigarettes and alcohol as an outlet for his problems before he discovered long distance running. His father, Roland Ainge, said: “He’s lived rough in a cricket scorebox, a dilapidated caravan and a rough tent.
“He’s worked so hard to quit alcohol, and has found his calling in long distance running. It brings balance to his life.
“To this day he runs up to 50 miles a day, on average he runs 30 and 50 miles a day. It’s what keeps his feet on the ground and keeps his mind working.”
Lincoln, once a promising cricketer who played for Berkshire County Cricket team and worked for Lord’s Ground Staff, also says that he had trouble with his benefits after they were docked nearly £100 because he was rejected from a claim for PIPS (Personal Independence Payment).
He laughed when asked if he wanted to start his own running club, saying: “There’s not many people who would run all day everyday by choice!”