ATTEMPTING 50 kilometres a day for 50 days is a challenge that would make even the bravest of runners hesitate, but for Somerville man Connor Scott it was a mission with a purpose.
Scott took on the challenge to raise money for Mornington charity Speak & Share because he backs what the charity does for young people.
“I wanted to be able to help challenge the stigmas of mental illness and help this charity work on proactive responses,” he said.
From 15 October to 3 December, no matter the weather or the pain level, Scott donned his running shoes and took to the track.
“I love what the boys at Speak & Share do … when I was younger I had no idea what mental health looked like until it was too late,” he said.
“I fell into a deep depression with crippling anxiety following some life-changing events and I had no idea how to handle it or describe what was happening.
“In my mind, I’d lost the plot. I was having constant panic attacks, was struggling to get out of bed and felt like I’d lost all sense of self.
“I couldn’t bring myself to talk to anyone because I felt scared of being judged and honestly I thought I was the only person going through it.”
Sott said that after 18 months of continuing to sweep it under the rug, it became too much, and led to him attempting suicide.
“Once I did reach out to a couple of mates, I realised I wasn’t alone, that I wasn’t weak and that others were going through it, too,” he said.
He said the resulting support he received from friends and family, psychologists, counsellors and coaches have all had a huge impact on his life.
“I can happily say I’ve had the best year of my life so far. Back then, I never thought I’d be in the position that I am now. I never thought it would pass.”
Scott said he knew it was important to empower others to speak up about their mental health. To let people know that “it will pass”.
From needing ice packs to treat his many aches and pains and some torn quads, plus lots of extra meals to keep his weight from dropping too much, Scott – a physiotherapist – has suffered (albeit happily) for his quest.
“There were many days when I really had to challenge myself to run 50 kilometres before work. I won’t say it was easy, but it’s been an amazing journey,” he said.
Scott’s GoFundMe page is still open, and he is aiming to raise $50,000 for Speak & Share to provide 2500 young people with the opportunity to learn about how the vulnerability is “an act of courage, not weakness”.
To donate got to gofundme.com/f/connors-50km-for-50-days