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Funds and awareness-raising Run the Country Ultra challenge to arrive in Thetford on Monday



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A fund-raiser in the throes of a 1,050km run across England will arrive in Thetford on Monday.

Matt Bagwell is set to complete the seventh of 21 ultra marathons in an attempt to raise £100,000 for suicide prevention charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably).

It is a cause close to the 52-year-old’s heart: the ultra-runner and breathwork coach twice planned his own death but instead sought help and mastered tools to help manage his depression.

Matt Bagwell, who is running 1,050km across the country, arriving in Thetford on September 13 (50942947)
Matt Bagwell, who is running 1,050km across the country, arriving in Thetford on September 13 (50942947)

Each week, 125 people in the UK take their own lives, of which 75 per cent are men.

Matt’s Run the Country Ultra will see him run more than 1,050kms through every county in England to raise funds and awareness of male suicide prevention and World Suicide Prevention Day today.

He started his 21 consecutive ultra marathon challenge in Cornwall on Sunday – an ultra marathon is a distance of more than 26 miles.

Matt Bagwell (50943979)
Matt Bagwell (50943979)

On Monday, he will run 44.6km from Newmarket to Thetford, arriving in Water Lane between 3.30-4.30pm.

He is aiming to finish the overall run in London on October 5.

Matt said: “I have two objectives for this project: to change minds and save lives. Running, being in nature and part of a community have all contributed to my recovery from depression and maintained wellbeing. I want to share this experience with as many people as possible, celebrating what’s possible when we put our mind to it. And of course, when people get to a crisis point, there needs to be awareness of the resources that they can count on, and enough availability of professional help. That’s where CALM’s call centre professionals come in. This project will fund thousands of potentially life-saving calls. Knowing this will motivate every step; it already has.”

“Why am I doing this challenge? I’ve been there. I’ve literally stepped on to the edge, more than once. At the last minute, for love, for family, for a tiny glimmer of hope, I chose a different path. I wrote a different story.

Matt Bagwell, who is running 1,050km across the country, arriving in Thetford on September 13 (50942949)
Matt Bagwell, who is running 1,050km across the country, arriving in Thetford on September 13 (50942949)

“Now I want to share hope, because I know there are so many others across the country who are facing that same darkness. I want my journey to bring people together, make new connections between communities. I want to raise awareness and funding for the professionals who save lives, every single day. When one life is saved, one person on the end of the phone paid for, then every step, every kilometre, every ultra, they’ll all be worthwhile.”

The father-of-two is a certified breathwork instructor, running free classes on Instagram each week at @lovetolearnto

For more information or to donate to Run the Country Ultra, go to runthecountryultra.com

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