Men's mental health at the heart of Scarborough ultra marathoner's 24-hour challenge

An ultra marathoner from Scarborough is to use his love of running as a way to show people that “someone is always there to listen”.

Thursday, 27th February 2020, 2:10 pm
Updated Thursday, 27th February 2020, 2:12 pm

Andy Messenger, 35, has been running for five years. What started as a way to get fitter and healthier turned into a passion that inspired him to go “bigger and bigger”. He took part in the London Marathon in 2016 and has been running ultra races since.

As well as benefiting his fitness, running has proved to be a good coping strategy. “It sets you up for the day, it helps me process things and cope with my mental health,” he said.

After hitting a series of personal goals last year, the father-of-two decided to do something “a bit different” to test himself while supporting a good cause.

Andy Messenger with fellow runners and supporters. Inset: Andy Messenger.

He said: “I’d been wanting to do a 24-hour race for some time but I needed something to motivate me, something to keep me going at 3 o’clock in the morning.

“As a running community we recently lost three members to suicide and that’s something that really resonated with me. I thought the time was right to shed a light on mental health and show how supportive we are as a running community, and that if you need help, no matter what time it is, someone is always there to listen.”

From 7am on May 30 to 7am on May 31, Andy will be running continuous lapses of the Scarborough 10k route. He will be joined by fellow runners from the local Road Runners Club, which he and his friends who together formed the Advanced Marathon Racing Team are members of, as well as runners from Bridlington, Whitby, Pickering and local bootcamps.

“The main thing about the challenge is that I’m not going to be on my own,” he added.

“So far about 80 runners signed up to join me across the 24 hours. It’s going to be quite emotive because the partners and family members of those who took their own lives are going to run as well.”

The support he received since advertising the challenge has been “overwhelming”. “Some men have reached out to say how great this is which shows we are ready to talk about it.”

All the money raised will go towards CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably). Anyone who wants to donate and help Andy reach his £2,400 target can do so HERE.