Wigan fund-raiser's double marathon bid to help others

A fund-raiser is taking on a huge physical challenge to highlight mental health issues, just four months after attempting to take his own life.
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Aaron Woodward spent one-and-a-half months in hospital earlier this year and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

But he describes it as “the best experience” of his life, as he has since been able to make positive changes.

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The 28-year-old joiner now hopes to help others by raising money for charity CALM, which works to prevent suicide among men in the UK.

Aaron Woodward in the clothes he will wear to run two marathonsAaron Woodward in the clothes he will wear to run two marathons
Aaron Woodward in the clothes he will wear to run two marathons

He will run two marathons over the weekend of June 27 and 28 - despite never having run more than a half marathon.

Aaron, who lives in Newtown, said: “I have never run a marathon and now I’m doing two marathons in two days. I see a lot of people doing one marathon and I really wanted to push the boat out, because I wanted all eyes to be drawn on me and I wanted to stand out. I want to earn my donations.”

Aaron runs regularly as well as training for mixed martial arts, but two marathons will be a real challenge for him.

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He has not yet decided where he will run, but hopes to find a route as flat as possible.

He expects the first marathon will take five to seven hours, while he is allowing eight to 10 hours for the second.

He said: “It will be a lot more difficult for the second one. I will have to take my time more. I can’t expend all my energy in the first marathon. I’m going to take breaks and look after my body.”

Aaron is keen to make sure he stands out in a bid to raise more money, so will be running in denim shorts and a shirt without sleeves.

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He said: “I want all eyes to be on me when I’m running. I want people to beep their horns and show their support. I want to stand out. Most runners are in running kit and don’t stand out, but when they see me, I will stand out.”

Aaron has already surpassed his £100 fund-raising target and now hopes to collect as much money as possible for the charity. But he also wants to raise awareness of the importance of looking after mental health and talking.

He said: “I want to raise awareness that there is help out there for us men and it’s okay to talk. I think it was a big help to me when I went into hospital. I wrote a massive status on Facebook about everything. It was the most invigorating thing I had done. It was a weight off my shoulders. I have never felt better in my life than I do now. I feel like I am a success story rather than a victim.”

Aaron will also be running in memory of his sister Tracy, who was just 36 when she died by suicide in 2015. “I’m doing it for men’s mental health but for my sister as well,” he said.

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“Hopefully she would look down and say I’m stupid, but she will think it’s fantastic as well.”

To sponsor Aaron, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/aaronwoodward.

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