Determined Wigan duo who battled through dark times taking on Tough Mudder challenge
Two fund-raisers who have both been through some of the darkest times imaginable are taking on a tough, muddy challenge for charity.
Kieran Jones and Suzanne Cleworth are both taking on the North West Tough Mudder later this year and hope to raise plenty of cash for mental illness charity Mind.
Both have personal reasons for taking on the gruelling obstacle course, with Kieran, from Bamfurlong, currently using fitness and running to help him battle depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which he has struggled with for several years.
Leigh resident Suzanne, meanwhile, hopes to help Mind as her husband Stephen, a popular local rugby league player, took his own life last year aged just 44.
Kieran, 39, said: “I’ve had a lot going on and a couple of months ago I hit rock bottom. I tried the NHS and was put on a waiting list, which I don’t blame them for because there’s a lack of funding, and I contacted Mind too.
“I signed up for Tough Mudder thinking of the idea that a healthy body is a healthy mind. I was 18 stone at one point because I basically didn’t leave my house for two years with the PTSD, but now I’ve started running and training, I’ve lost weight and I’ve started dieting too.
“Tough Mudder put a post about me on social media and I’ve had lots of people contacting me who were suffering in silence asking me for advice.
“When you start training endorphins kick in. I now want to get the word out about how I’m recovering and raise awareness.”
Kieran’s story has definitely inspired others, with more than 20 people signing up to do the Tough Mudder as part of his team.
The ranks have now been swelled further as Suzanne, 40, has come on board with a large number of participants to take on the course which usually includes freezing water, live electric wires, huge climbing frames, quarter pipes and copious quantities of mud.
Suzanne met Kieran at a gym and says the distance and physical challenge holds no fears for her as she has done similar events such as Born Survivor, putting her in the role of encouraging some of the novices to reach the finishing line.
Suzanne said: “Stephen’s death had a massive impact in such a small town. I did a charity event for Mind but now I want to get more awareness.
“There are a lot of people suffering with it and it’s very difficult for them to get the help they need.
“It’s all for a good cause and we’re going to have a really big team, it’s going to be great.”
Suzanne and Kieran are currently working on a number of charity events in the run-up to Tough Mudder and hope to raise thousands of pounds for Mind with so many people now involved.
Kieran also has plans to work with gyms in the borough on special fitness sessions solely for people battling mental illness wanting to get in shape to boost their recovery.
To find out more about the team or donate, visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/teamMIND