Cape Times

76 half marathons in 76 days for mental health


IN AN EPIC effort to raise awareness on mental health as well as funds for the SA Depression and Anxiety Group’s (Sadag), Henry Cock has broken the Guinness World Record by running 76 half marathons in 76 days.

And he’s not done yet.

The 35-year-old Johannesbu­rg resident broke the record in Sedgefield yesterday, racking up more than R700 000 for the cause so far.

He started his trip in Kosi Bay in KwaZulu-Natal on July 8, in the midst of the pandemic and looting in the province. He is expected to end at Vioolsdrif­t on the Namibian border by November 16.

For the remainder of the process he will be stopping in towns and cities along the way, hoping to meet up with local runners for a day.

Cock said he had to train for months for the challenge, which at first seemed like a “mad crazy target” to reach.

Having battled anxiety and depression himself, Cock has spoken candidly about how, after he started seeing a therapist, he had the courage to admit

to the people he cared about the most that he suffered from anxiety.

“Mental illness is still very stigmatize­d and many people are ashamed to admit or seek help for their mental health issues, or believe that they are weak, or that there is no treatment or hope for mental illness.

“It takes great courage to speak out and recognise that you suffer from a mental disorder.

“The more we can open the conversati­on surroundin­g mental health, the greater the understand­ing and empathy will be for those that suffer,” he said.

Cock said he hopes to raise R4 million in the “Mentally-Aweh Initiative”. Funds raised will be donated to Sadag.

Sadag said the pandemic has made them busier than ever. From 2019 to 2021, their calls have increased from 600 to 2 200 daily. It runs helplines and the only suicide prevention helpline in South Africa, which costs over R120 000 a month to operate.

Sadag developmen­t manager, Fatima Seedat, congratula­ted Cock on the great achievemen­t.

“We are absolutely elated and proud of you. You are a true inspiratio­n to so many people, including us. We appeal to the public to please continue to support Henry by cheering him on as he passes through your city and continue to donate to his BackaBuddy page. Henry, thank you, you are a true inspiratio­n,” she said.

Donations for Henry’s BackaBuddy page can be made by visiting the websitie: www.runhenryru­

 ?? ?? HENRY Cock has raised more than R700 000 for the SA Depression and Anxiety Group.
HENRY Cock has raised more than R700 000 for the SA Depression and Anxiety Group.

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