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Disclaimer: I was blackmailed into running this Marathon by Mike Crowther, the CEO of Empowerment, who messaged me saying ‘if you sign up to run the marathon, I’ll sign up too and run for Elliot’s Place’… and I’m buzzing that he did!

Now we’ve got a trio of myself, my Mum and Mike running for Elliot’s Place, which has been set up inspired by the memory of Elliot Taylor who died by suicide aged 24 in September 2020. I might not physically be the best advocate for male mental health, but I can see the ripple effects a situation like Elliot’s can have on a small town and how much it can bring people together. I’m raising money so that my Boyfriend, my male friends, my Dad, my cousins and any other male can seek support during crisis.

The arduous training for the Manchester Marathon taking place on 3rd April 2020 is fuelled by my empathy towards anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide, or anyone who is going through a difficult time. I feel the pandemic could be a huge impediment towards people adapting to the erratic switch back to ‘normality’, creating a further need for projects such as Elliot’s Place. It’s unlikely anyone is the same as they were coming into the pandemic, the primary reason being it was two years ago, so ‘normality’ also needs to change and adhere to our post-pandemic needs, including more supportive communities; especially when it comes to mental health and feelings of isolation and desperation.

Mental Health services are still inundated with waiting lists and the process of receiving help is a complete farce, as it diminishes how someone is feeling to being just another person in the queue. A community like Elliot’s Place is a bridge which could support someone from being at the end of a waiting list, to completing a round of support.

I’ve only recently found out that Elliot was similar to my age when he ended his life; a weird age where you still don’t know a lot about the world even though you’re supposed to have it all figured out. I’m an avid believer in peer support and mentoring, so having something like Elliot’s Place to guide someone through tough times is fundamental and I’m excited to see this project expand and help and support young men who are experiencing mental illness.

My mum’s partner Mike and his colleague Linzi helped to set up Elliot’s Place, alongside Elliot’s family, just a week after Elliot’s death, and I am proud to know and run with Mike after everything he achieves through Empowerment. My Mum is also a fabulous coach as she has run multiple marathons, so I know I’m in good hands training-wise. I’m feeling grateful that I am able to train towards something this monumental. I have learnt that a massive part of the training is reliant on mentality and mindset as opposed to physical ability. Physical energy is simply not enough, as positive mental energy is what has kept me going through some long and sometimes painful runs. I would like to implement this strategy even post marathon, as a reminder to look after my mind. Negative thoughts literally will not get you anywhere, especially when it comes to training for a marathon!

If you would like to sponsor me for this brilliant cause and make all my pain and discomfort worthwhile please click on the link. I am so grateful for any support you can give.

Sponsor Caitlin for Elliot’s Place

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