York University student Calum Goodwin is taking on his first marathon to raise money for mental health charity MIND and raise awareness of mental health issues.
He was prompted to enter the Asda Foundation Yorkshire Marathon by the experience of a friend, who had attempted to take her own life.
Calum, who is from Chesterfield, said: The main reason I’m running is for one of my best friends from uni who suffers from mental health. She has contemplated and attempted to take her life a few times and it has been more the support of her friends which has actually helped her through and provided some light amidst the dark thoughts which she fights.
“I don’t experience mental health issues myself but I try to understand those who do and not dismiss them. For me it’s about teaching people to try to understand, to just be a voice and that it’s okay to not quite understand why people experience mental health issues.”
Calum, who is studying English and History, added: “For me, however, university has been a lot less about my course than it has been about learning about students and kids who visit the university with mental illness. With the Independent recently reporting that teenage suicide has increased by 67 per cent since 2010, mental health has only recently been given the coverage it rightly deserves.
“Most runner blogs and stories are filled with hope and inspiration, many of which have touched me, however what is driving me to run this marathon is to raise an awareness for a cause which is still only in its infancy in my opinion. Mental health is still treated and funded less significantly than physical disability.”
Calum, who admits to being “very nervous as well as a bit excited” about his first marathon on Sunday 14th October, is getting enthusiastic support from his parents who he says have pitched in with “hugely embarrassing posters and T-shirts.”