A DOWNEND woman is preparing to finish a year-long running challenge at one of Britain’s biggest sporting events.
Jenny Wooldridge set herself a target to run 300 miles in support of a suicide awareness charity, starting at last year’s Bristol 10k.
She has been running every week with her Labrador dog Wilbur, and has doubled her target to 600 miles, having already clocked up more than 560.
Jenny plans to finish her challenge at the Great North Run in Newcastle on September 11.
Jenny is raising awareness of male suicide and mental health, to help break down some of the stigma which surrounds it, in memory of her dad Brian Davies, who took his own life 30 years ago, aged 57.
She is raising money for charity the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), which offers support to people who are struggling with life, from bereavement support information, a helpline and WhatsApp service to professional counselling.
CALM says 6,500 lives in the UK are lost to suicide every year and three quarters of those are male: it is the biggest killer of men aged under 45.
Jenny said: “Since last September Wilbur and I have run every week, clocking up 560.5 miles, smashing through the original 300-mile target.
“I wanted this run to be challenging, as I know that for those who struggle with their mental health, every day can be a challenge. I saw that struggle in my Dad over the last few days of his life.
“I know, as a family who has lost a loved one to suicide, how desolate, confusing, and isolating grief can be.
“The stigma that swirls around suicide only compounds the feelings of isolation and loss further, so anything that helps to remove those barriers and gets people talking about mental health and suicide can only be a positive thing.”
Jenny had raised just under £2,000 as the Voice went to press on her donation page at justgiving.com/fundraising/jenny-wooldridge22.
She is aiming to hit the £2,500 mark by the time she finishes the challenge.
Jenny said: “My Dad told me to never underestimate the difference one person can make to another person’s life and the huge generosity of all the people who have given to my justgiving page has helped CALM to support people who are struggling to find hope, and to support families who have lost loved ones.
“I have been blown away by the generosity of people, some of whom I have never met. I have been motivated by words of encouragement, especially on the days when my legs were tired.
“Thank you to everyone.”