Dixon pushes through pain

Geelong Advertiser - - SPORT - ALEX OATES

PAIN is tem­po­rary. Quit­ting lasts for­ever.

That quote, made fa­mous by Lance Arm­strong, could not be more ap­pli­ca­ble for tal­ented Gee­long sports­man Scott Dixon.

Dixon has en­dured the pain of 10 half-marathons — and has set his sights on com­plet­ing an­other two this year — all in the name of men­tal health.

The 23-year-old is part of the “12 for Twelve” move­ment, the brain­child of Mel­bourne run­ner Rhett Ni­cholas, that bids to change the con­ver­sa­tion around men­tal health one step at a time.

Pas­sion­ate about spread­ing the mes­sage, Dixon has made to­mor­row’s Mel­bourne Marathon a fam­ily af­fair. He will pound the pave­ment along­side dad Bill, 57, sis­ter Em­mersen, 25, and brother Nick and up to 50 12 for Twelve col­leagues.

“It’s close to home for me and my fam­ily and it’s been re­ally mo­ti­vat­ing and re­ward­ing to get in­volved in some­thing like this,” Dixon said.

“We’ve had fam­ily mem­bers, in­clud­ing my­self, bat­tle men­tal health and it’s so com­mon. I think most fam­i­lies would have a con­nec­tion in some way or an­other.

“When you see them suf­fer­ing, you just re­ally hope that no one else has to go through it as well. It’s some­thing that can be fixed and we’ll just keep pro­mot­ing things like this and hope­fully the mes­sage gets across.”

Tak­ing on the chal­lenge of 12 for Twelve, Dixon ad­mit­ted it had been tax­ing on the body.

But not even the pain of knee ten­dini­tis could pre­vent him from achiev­ing a goal.

“The first cou­ple weren’t easy,” Dixon said.

“Our sec­ond run was a trail run and the el­e­va­tion was be­tween 50m and 600m above sea level, so we were just go­ing up and down for 21km.

“But that pain that you ex­pe­ri­ence is tem­po­rary and nowhere near the pain of peo­ple suf­fer­ing men­tal health prob­lems.

“I didn’t strug­gle too much with the mo­ti­va­tion side of things. It’s been re­ally re­ward­ing and some­thing that I’m re­ally pas­sion­ate about.

“I’m very open and pas­sion­ate to speak to oth­ers about it, hear their sto­ries and help out where I can.”

Dixon said Ni­cholas, a friend at Old Gee­long Foot­ball Club, had been in­spired to launch the group in hon­our of his sis­ter, who com­mit­ted sui­cide last Novem­ber.

“By De­cem­ber he de­cided to do 12 half-marathons in 12 months to raise $100,000 and more aware­ness for men­tal health,” Dixon said.

“It started with a lit­tle bit of ad­ver­tis­ing on In­sta­gram and he had a whole group of mates that chipped in to help.

“Some of them did the sched­ules for the runs, oth­ers look af­ter the web­site and fundrais­ing and it’s grown quite sig­nif­i­cantly.”

Dixon said he and Ni­cholas were de­ter­mined to change the con­ver­sa­tion around men­tal health.

“That’s why he chose run­ning be­cause there are ben­e­fits of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity and men­tal well­be­ing, hence why he started Run Clubs to have that com­mu­nity con­nec­tion,” Dixon said.

“We’re just try­ing to spread the mes­sage to as many peo­ple as we can. It doesn’t mat­ter if some­one can’t run a marathon, you can sup­port the cause in other ways.

“We want every­one to un­der­stand that it’s fine to have men­tal is­sues. You’re not alone and as friends and peers we need to help out to en­sure they’re OK.

“Some peo­ple get fright­ened by that a lit­tle bit, but in re­al­ity the most im­por­tant thing is to pro­vide di­rec­tion and sup­port and mak­ing sure you are there for them.

“I think we’re on the path, but there’s a long way to go.”

So far 12 for Twelve has raised $95,000. Visit www.12fortwelve.com If you or some­one you know needs help, visit headspace.org.au or call Life­line on 13 11 14.

Pic­ture: MARK WIL­SON

FAM­ILY FO­CUS: Scott, Em­mersen and Bill Dixon are run­ning to help raise funds and aware­ness for men­tal health.

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