Twenty years ago, when I was studying for my university finals, my friend committed suicide. She was brilliant and bright and had been offered a scholarship to Harvard once she graduated. But she also suffered from depression and this combined with Oxford exam pressure was all too much. At the time our exams felt like the most important thing, but now I'm Rosie and Arthur's mum I know they weren't that important at all. I think about her often and wish that she'd had someone to listen to her the evening she died.
Today, one in four people struggle with their mental health. We all know somebody who suffers from anxiety or depression or sometimes struggles with life. We've all felt dreadful at some point, whether it's down to bereavement or the end of a relationship or difficulties with family and friends or stress at work. It can feel overwhelming.
The Samaritans do an amazing job listening to people without judgement who feel at the end of their tether.
As somebody who only discovered running when I turned 40, 18 months ago, this marathon is not going to come easy. (I was the girl at school who used to skive off cross country runs to have a cigarette before getting a lift in my friend's car back to school...)
But knowing that I'm raising money for such a worthwhile cause will help me keep putting one foot in front of the other for as long as it takes until I reach the finishing line.
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