Errol was in a dark place, but he recovered with the help of his running club. Now he plans to run his first ultra-marathon (that’s 40 miles!) on Saturday 9th May, and he’s raising money for Harmless. We’re impressed, humbled, and extremely grateful.
Here’s what Errol has to say:
“Hi, my name is Errol. I am currently training to run the Dukeries 40mile ultra-marathon, the run is around Clumber Park and Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire. Although, as I’m finding out, ultras are all about finishing and not about times, I’m secretly hoping to get around in 7 hours. Just two years ago this would have been totally impossible, as up until January 9th 2018 I had not even began running.
The years preceding this point I had been lost in a battle with mental illness after quite a severe breakdown. This had taken everything from me, I had become a virtual recluse in my worst times. The side-effects of the medication had taken me over 20st. and due to self-medicating I had become addicted to alcohol.
Slowly and with much help I had started to turn the corner and was finding recovery, but it wasn’t until my teenage daughter called me fat and lazy in a teenage rant that I decided to try do something about how I had ended up physically.
In early 2018 I took up a running club’s c25k program. The first few weeks were horrid, both mentally and physically. I could barely run half a mile after two decades of very little cardio, but the support I got from the running club really helped get me going. I soon realized my recovery was going better the more I ran, so I took to doing it as much as I could. It’s been a fight all the way but one I have totally enjoyed. It’s a journey that’s helping me get good recovery and maybe helping me get back into the world.
I’m never going to be a great runner or a fast runner after the fights I have had, but after I learned what ultra-marathons were I just knew I wanted to test myself to find my limits and to get over them, and see some great countryside. If I can survive mental health battles and addictions why not try to push myself in something I’m beginning to love? And that’s helping save me
I was unsure about linking my first ultra to raising money for a charity, as I have become quite isolated over my illness and I was unsure it would go well, but I witnessed something on the way home the other day that was both extremely upsetting and sad to see, but also triggering to me and was a stark reminder of where the darkness can take people, especially concerning suicide.
Someone I know mentioned Harmless, and as soon as I looked into it I decided to try help if I could. It took ages for me to seek any kind of help, but without the help out there with mental health groups, therapy and my running club I wouldn’t be here today. I definitely wouldn’t be trying to run a 40mile ultra (gulp). The fact there are charities out there like Harmless will save lives. I just hope I can raise as much as I can for them.”
For more information about the race, go to www.hobopace.co.uk/dukeries-30-40/
If you’d like to support Errol and Harmless, go to www.localgiving.org/fundraising/my1stultra/ and help Errol smash his target!