'CONQUER THE WALL' HALF MARATHON FOR THE MENTAL HEALTH FOUNDATION OF NZ IN BEIJING

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My mission in running the Great Wall Of China half marathon on May 11th 2019 is to hopefully help raise awareness and help end stigma associated with mental health. The Conquer the Wall Marathon is the longest running international marathon on the Great Wall of China. It will test you like no other race. I will be climbing more than 10,000 unrelenting stone steps and running a experience on one of the oldest and most recognizable structures in the world.

I've decided to do this event to help bring awareness to 'Mental health’ in New Zealand something incredibly close to my heart and feel I have a fair understanding of what people go through which is why I’m so passionate about this cause!
It’s a heartbreaking statistic that New Zealand has one of the highest rates for youth suicide in the world but it’s even more heartbreaking to know that we struggle to have these conversations with each other because of the stigma that comes with being associated with words like depression and mental health.

The change I most want to see is for my friends, family, and community to be bold with our conversations regarding depression and mental health. I want my friends, family, and community to have the courage to have these conversations with each other but especially our youth. I want our youth to be more aware and be able to recognize what depression and mental health looks like for their well being and those around them.

The thing is, “Everyone is going through something that we can’t see.” “because we can’t see it, we don’t know who’s going through what and we don’t know when and we don’t always know why. Mental health is an invisible thing, but it touches all of us at some point or another. It’s part of life. No matter what our circumstances, we’re all carrying around things that can hurt ”

Let me just start off by saying, I have never been a runner. I got into running when I was at a very low place in my life.

This has been a passion of mine for years, and it has literally taken years!!
I have had many setbacks, excuses (negative self-talk. I was so used to putting myself down in my own mind, telling myself I could not do it, I’m too slow, I’m not good enough, comparison prison), but I am determined in continuing to forge ahead with this. Most times the things we tell ourselves we can not do aren’t tangible. But when you are physically doing something and you do not have a choice to quit. I found the strength inside myself that I had no idea existed until I was in a situation that forced it out of me. When no one else is there to tell you what to do. And when no one is watching you. It is on you to create that voice that goes on in your own head. That voice will be your biggest asset or it will be your greatest enemy. Life changes constantly, I do not run away from my pain I run through it. I run now to clear my head and my heart. To stay strong for all the change I am constantly facing. I am using it to shape a stronger and better me. It is our choice on whether we keep allowing our past to paralyse us or slingshot us into a healthier stronger future.

My overall goal with the marathon ahead is to hopefully help shift the paradigm with mental health and change the conversation about mental health.

“…no matter how big or small it seems to you… you’re not weird or different for sharing what you’re going through.”

Just the opposite. It could be the most important thing you do.

It was for me.

$10,000.00 is the fundraising goal and it will go directly to the Mental Health Foundation Of New Zealand, something incredibly close to my own heart. You can check out the link below on how to donate.

https://givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/conquer-the-wall-half-marathon-for-the-mental#

Thank you so much,

Soph

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