As a young man suffering with mental health, just before university I tried to take my own life three times. The last time I was hospitalised for just under a week.
I suffered with self harm and low mood for several years during this time. I tried to join the British Army twice and was unable too due to my medical history. Some years later after I graduated, I applied for the Royal Marines and was unsuccessful at my written exams and was told that I would not be a marine.
This was the end of my dream. I struggled to know what I wanted to do with my life for some years after. With a burning fire inside to be physical and use my youth before it was gone! I eventually applied for the SAS: Who Dares Wins documentary series on channel 4 just before we went into lockdown.
I passed through the first faze of the the interview process and was asked to complete a recorded 1.5 mile run in under 9min30s. Tried as I might as someone who has never ran, with 2 months training, I could only achieve 9min52s.
Another failure and a pandemic, my mental health and self harm escalated quickly and in the summer of 2020 I was official diagnosed with:
Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder
During the two months training for the documentary I had an epiphany. I never new it before but I actually enjoyed running and it filled that gap of wanting to join the Army or Navy. How could I not have seen this before?… and the rest is history.
Since the summer of 2020 I worked hard to get faster almost everyday for 6 months and just before the year ended I had finally achieved a sub 20m 5k.
At the beginning of the year in January I found a coach (joey stocks) and committed to a 6 a day week, training plan. No compromise, no excuses and no quitting. I had found my purpose and started my journey to complete my first marathon.
Keeping in mind my first run was 1.5mile in 16mins. I had come on leaps and bounds as my training got stronger within less than a year I had jumped from (23min 5k > 17m46s) (52min 10k > 38m) and my HM was 1:45 > 1:26. I felt great for the first time in years and as a complete surprise, finding out the night before my coach had given me his number for the race the next day!
Typically my first race I was nervous and attended the event alone and had forgotten my chip :(. The staff was so warm and welcoming and a very polite lady changed my number 33 for 5832 🙂
Running under my coaches name and under my exchanged number. I focused and gave a good push during the race. With a chip time of 1:22’50 and 35th place finish! I was ecstatic to say the least.
Running has helped my mental health more than I can explain and I currently sit in the happiest place of my life in over a decade. With running I have finally found my home!!