Holloway sister runs 12 marathons in 12 months to support male suicide charity

Emma Cooper running the Manchester Marathon. Picture: Supplied

Emma Cooper running the Manchester Marathon. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

A Holloway woman is running 12 marathons in 12 months to support charity campaigning to bring the male suicide rate down.

Emma Cooper, 31, of Holloway Road, is two races into a gruelling year-long schedule that will see her compete in Newport on Sunday and, eventually, complete her challenge at the Harrogate Marathon in November.

Emma, who lost her brother Jamie to death by suicide in 2005, was alarmed to discover Samaritans statistics from 2017, showing 4,382 UK men died after battling the same mental illness that year, an average of 12 deaths a day.

The sister decided to take on her epic 12 month marathon challenge to raise funds for Campaign Against Living Miserably, a charity running helpline services to support men with suicidal thoughts.

“So far so good,” said Emma, who works for The Ahoy Centre Charity, which supports disadvantaged young people and adults with disabilities through sailing and rowing. “It’s very demanding but the marathons themselves can be quite fun and the crowds, the atmosphere is amazing. But it’s about being aware of your own training and mental health too.”

She added: “It’s such a big thing male suicide. Twelve people die every day so its about how I can help keep the helpline and my brothers memory going.”

Emma’s training regime consists of three of four 10K runs during the working week, with a longer burst of some 15 or 18 miles on the weekend.

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She said her favourite place to run in down Upper Street, as it reminds Emma of her day’s at the nearby City University and isn’t too far from home and the post-workout meal of calories and carbohydrates.

“People have been amazingly supportive,” she added. “I’ve had friends come to Brighton to support me, they’ve been sponsoring me, and on bad days when it’s raining and I can’t be bothered they give me a kick up the butt and remind me why I’m doing this.

“It’s all been a bit surreal but you’ve just got to listen to your body – 70 per cent of the journey is in your head. You’ve already done the training and know you can run. Don’t let doubts get in your head and just Cy: ‘You can do it.’”

So far Emma’s raised more than £500 towards her £5,000 target. You can support her here.

You can call Samaritans or CALM for confidential support on 116 123 or 0808 802 58 58 – and you don’t have to be suffering from suicidal thoughts to call.