Paula Roberts, 31, is aiming to complete the 13.1 mile run in two hours fifteen minutes in support of Richmond Fellowship, the national charity making mental health recovery reality.
And whilst the money raised will help support people living with mental health problems, Paula is also determined to use her marathon challenge to raise awareness for Richmond Fellowship and help tackle mental health stigma.
She said: “I’ve got borderline personality disorder with bipolar tendencies. This is an incurable mental health problem and I’ve had some really terrible times coping with life in general, having attempted suicide several times, self-harming for a long period of time and recurring eating disorders.
“Richmond Fellowship is a charity that I owe a lot to, they saved my life. They’ve given me a lot of support and were there for me at a time when a lot of organisations had turned their back on me.”
Having been supported through her mental health crisis and onto the road of recovery, Paula now volunteers for Richmond Fellowship’s recovery college in Durham.
Paula said: “In my role with the college, I’m able to provide peer support to people who’ve experienced similar mental health problems and use my lived experience to support them along their recovery journey.
“It feels great to help people who’re experiencing similar situations that I experienced and use my insight to tell them that things get better and support is out there.”
Despite the challenges of fitting training around being a single mum and her work at the recovery college, Paula is well on her way to preparing for the Redcar half marathon, having already conquered a ten mile run this year as part of a local running group.
She added: “Throughout the year I’ve done a 10k, five mile and 10 mile run so taking on a half marathon is the next step for me. I didn’t want to just do a run, I wanted to run for a good cause and a charity that’s helped me a lot.
“It’s really important that more people learn about Richmond Fellowship and that through running I can help raise awareness for them. Richmond Fellowship never turned their back on me, and unlike other organisations they really help people experiencing a mental health crisis come out the other side. My life has changed for the best since being supported by Richmond Fellowship and I’m very grateful for everything they’ve done.”
Paula will take on the Redcar half marathon on 27 September. For more information and to support her challenge, visit: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserPage.action?userUrl=PaulaRoberts&pageUrl=2
Inspired by Paula’s challenge? Click here to see how you can raise money for Richmond Fellowship