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Ultra CALM challenge in aid of male suicide comes to Cambridge




A runner has come up with a gruelling challenge to help raise awareness of male suicide.

Matt Bagwell doing his Ultra Marathon challenge in Cambridgeshire. Picture: Graham Watson
Matt Bagwell doing his Ultra Marathon challenge in Cambridgeshire. Picture: Graham Watson

Each week, 125 people in the UK sadly take their own lives – 75 per cent of them are men. Matt Bagwell, who arrived in Cambridge last Saturday (September 11), has created ‘Run the Country Ultra’, which will involve him running more than 1,050km across England throughout September to raise funds and awareness for male suicide prevention and World Suicide Prevention Day, which was on September 10.

Matt, 52, a breathwork coach, was nearly one of the sadly high suicide statistics, having twice planned his own death. This month, he is running 21 Ultra Marathons (a distance over 26 miles) in 26 days across England, where he hopes to raise £105,000 for the charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably).

Matt Bagwell doing his Ultra Marathon challenge in Cambridgeshire. Picture: Graham Watson
Matt Bagwell doing his Ultra Marathon challenge in Cambridgeshire. Picture: Graham Watson

The challenge started in Cornwall on September 5 and will finish in Regent’s Park in London on October 1. He arrived in Cambridge around 4.30pm – the sixth of his 21 runs – Matt’s ultra CALM challenge

having left Bishop’s Stortford at 8am that morning.

Speaking an hour after his arrival in the city, Matt said: “This is a really nice part of the world to run through so all happily done and finished.” He added: “People are really supportive and very interested in why I’m doing it.”

‘Run the Country Ultra’ which will see Matt Bagwell run over 1050kms across England in September
‘Run the Country Ultra’ which will see Matt Bagwell run over 1050kms across England in September

On how the challenge came about, Matt, who prefers to run at a “talking pace” so he can chat with people at the same time, said: “I decided that I wanted to raise awareness for men’s mental health specifically and do something which showed how somebody can positively recover from mental illness.

“I had a couple of bouts of deep depression, in my adolescence and then later in adult life, so I wanted to do something to demonstrate that it is possible to recover and to do something extraordinary – and also to raise as much money as possible.”

Matt Bagwell taking a break during his Ultra Marathon challenge in Cambridgeshire. Picture: Graham Watson
Matt Bagwell taking a break during his Ultra Marathon challenge in Cambridgeshire. Picture: Graham Watson

Matt reveals that around £27,000 has been raised so far. He notes that the distance he ran from Bishop’s Stortford to Cambridge was 48km (a marathon is 42km) and added: “All through countryside – absolutely beautiful run today.”

Matt Bagwell is doing the Run the Country Ultra which will see him run over 1050kms across England in September 2021 for charity. Picture: Simon Edwards
Matt Bagwell is doing the Run the Country Ultra which will see him run over 1050kms across England in September 2021 for charity. Picture: Simon Edwards

For more on Matt’s challenge, go to runthecountryultra.com/. Follow him on Instagram using the handle @lovetolearnto.

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