Warrington veteran, Stuart Repon-Ness, will be running almost 1,500 miles along the West Cost of America to raise funds for Combat Stress, the UK’s leading veterans’ mental health charity.
Starting in April, Stuart will be running 1,447 miles in just 45 days, the equivalent of 55 marathons. The father of four, who works as an injury rehab therapist, is making this journey without a support crew and said: “I will get on the plane with just my toothbrush, my phone charger and my race pack.”
Stuart served in the Army as a physical training instructor and was deployed to Iraq, Kosovo and Northern Ireland before he left the Forces after eight years in 2008.
“When I got back from Iraq I was suffering but the Combat Stress Helpline was a lifeline to me – there was always someone to talk to. The charity really helped me so that’s why I decided to do something to help them. I wanted to do something really big and this challenge seemed to fit the bill!”
“Running has a special place for me, it’s my therapy – I love it. It’s a chance to get away from the daily grind and just think about nothing but the beautiful world around you. I got into it during my first posting in Germany, starting out with short runs of about a mile and half. I quickly found I like the longer distances and now I don’t usually get out of bed for less than half a marathon.”
His first attempt in August 2016 was sadly unsuccessful as he was injured in the first week of the challenge.
“After running 200 miles, I was forced to stop due to muscle rupture. I couldn’t believe it. I was on crutches for a while as I couldn’t use my ankle – I’ve never experienced an injury as severe from running. It’s much better now, I started building up the miles in January and am now back to doing 40 mile runs.”
To prepare for this incredible challenge Stuart has been undertaking long runs of 50 miles per week, plus hitting the gym to build up his strength and resistance. His training is focusing on road running to prepare for the conditions in America.
Sue Freeth, Chief Executive at Combat Stress said:
“We’re so grateful to Stuart for taking part in this amazing challenge in aid of Combat Stress.
“Over the past five years we have seen a 71% increase in referrals, it’s vital that we raise awareness and funds for the charity so we can continue to support every veteran that comes to us for help.
“We wish him the best of luck in his challenge.”
To sponsor Stuart in his challenge please visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/stusrunning
For more information please contact Holly Ayres, PR Officer, on 01372 587165 or Holly.Ayres@combatstress.org.uk
Notes to editors:
Combat Stress is the UK’s leading mental health charity for veterans. Founded in 1919, our work is as vital today as it was after the First World War.
More than 6,000 veterans across the UK are registered with us. Demand for our services is rising – between 2010/11 and 2015/16 we had almost 10,000 referrals, an increase of 71%.
On average it takes 12 years after leaving the military for veterans to contact Combat Stress for help, by which time their condition is often highly complex. However veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts are coming to Combat Stress much sooner, within four and two years respectively.
We treat conditions including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety. To help veterans rebuild their lives, we provide a range of free services:
- Short-stay clinical treatment at one of our treatment centres in Ayrshire, Shropshire and Surrey
- A specialist PTSD Intensive Treatment Programme – run at our three treatment centres
- Outpatients – assessment by psychiatrists and psychologists enables us to diagnose, define and deliver the treatment veterans require
- Occupational therapy – using meaningful and creative activity to encourage hope, wellbeing and recovery
- Community Teams – a UK-wide network of Community Teams providing treatment and practical support to veterans
- Reserve Forces Liaison Team – working directly with reservists and military staff, raising awareness of mental health issues in the Reserve Forces
- Substance Misuse Case Management Service – helping veterans to access the services for their drug and alcohol problems so their mental health issues can be addressed
- A 24-hour Helpline for veterans, serving personnel and families (0800 138 1619)
Combat Stress, Registered Charity 206002; Registered Charity in Scotland SCO38828; Company Ltd by guarantee: 256353.