Personal trainer pounds the streets of Wigan in gruelling charity challenge
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Joe Collins decided to run 30 miles, as he estimates there may have been 30 deaths by suicide in Wigan during the past few months.
Tragically, Wigan has for several years had an unenviable record of seeing more people taking their own lives than the national average.
Joe wanted to encourage people to seek help if they were struggling, as well as raise money for mental health charity Mind.
The 26-year-old set off from the JD Gym at Robin Park, where he works, and pounded the streets across the borough.
He was joined for parts of the run by two friends, who, he says, played an important role in helping him to keep going in an event which was outside his comfort zone.
For while Joe did enjoy the challenge, he admits it was tough.
Joe said: “I underestimated it a bit.
“I’m fit because it’s my job, but I have never really been into long-distance running and I only got into it in lockdown.
“I had only done 12 miles before, but I thought to raise a lot of money I would have to do something out there.
“I can barely walk now and my feet are in bits, but I did it.”
It took around five hours for Joe to complete the 30 miles and he finished to a round of applause from his neighbours on Pemberton Road in Winstanley.
He has raised around £1,500 so far for Mind, which provides advice and support for people with mental health problems.
Joe realised the importance of supporting mental health due to the coronavirus pandemic and trained as a life coach and counsellor during the first national lockdown.
He has lost friends to suicide and wanted to do something to help, so he puts videos online each week sharing tips on how to improve mental health.
Joe is now resting his achy feet, but has no regrets about taking on the ultra-marathon.
He said: “I’m really glad I did it.
“It was worth it for the cause. Anything I can do to raise money for mental health care is important.
“It’s a big passion for me to help as many people as I can.”
It is still possible to boost Joe’s total. Donate at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/joe-collins12
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