This Sunday Mark Coulson will cross the Asda Foundation Sheffield 10K finish line and complete his 10K challenge to raise awareness for men's mental health after losing two friends to suicide.
Mark Coulson, from Hull, is set to complete his tenth and final Asda Foundation 10K of the season in Sheffield this Sunday as part of his challenge to raise awareness for men's mental health.
Thousands of runners will share a sense of achievement on Sunday when they complete the Asda Foundation Sheffield 10K.
But 37-year-old Mark will have more reason than most to celebrate when he crosses the finish line. It will be the culmination of a challenge he set himself to complete all 10 Asda Foundation 10Ks in 2018.
Mark is running to raise awareness of mental health issues and male suicide. The money he raises will go Hull Man Club, co-founded by Mark as a place where men can go to talk through issues and problems that are bothering them.
He said: “My story started in school when I was bullied pretty much every day. This shaped my life from an early age and I never dealt with the issues from this. I kept this hanging over me for many years and never dealt with it, as back then it was very much the ‘man up’ generation.
“I have had two of my close friends take their lives. So I have made made it a mission of mine to prove you can turn a bad situation into a positive one and hopefully stop other men taking that tragic step.”
Going through a tough patch late last year, Mark decided to run a 10K to improve his health and fitness. Then he decided to really push himself and go for all ten.
He said: “I thought why not do all ten? Challenge myself to stick to it and prove you can do anything if you just focus and put your mind to it.”
Mark’s challenge kicked off in May with the GEAR 10K in King’s Lynn, which he completed in 58:10. In June he ran the his home town Hull 10K event clocking 47:14. He ran Lincoln on a scorching hot July 1st crossing the finish line in 47:51, a week later Leeds was chalked off in 48:45 and on July 15th he did the Burnley 10K in 45;13. He clocked 46:26 at York on August 5th, Nottingham was completed a week later in 44:37 and Leicester on September 9th in 44:45.
Mark started the challenge weighing over 18 stones and is now down to 12st 7lb.
He said: “I have found the challenge a great achievement, something I never thought I could do. I would normally just give up when it got tough, but to get to where I am now is something I am very proud of.
“One of the biggest highlights from the runs has been the support from my friends and family. I never thought anyone would be that interested if am honest, but getting messages from strangers saying what I am doing has inspired them to get help themselves or get fit and healthy is something that has really amazed me and I can’t thank them enough. When I feel like giving up or a bit down it really does keep me going.”
“It will mean a lot to me to complete this 10k challenge, not just for me but for people to realise you can achieve anything if you just work hard and don’t give up. No matter what you are going through you can get through it.”
Mark’s fundraising can be supported at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/mark-coulson-10kchallenge