Back-to-back marathons for mental health cause after loss of friend

Sam Gandy and Ben Bell are pictured after completing their 68 mile challenge in aid of Mind 

Sam Gandy and Ben Bell are pictured after completing their 68 mile challenge in aid of Mind - Credit: Submitted

Two Norfolk men have completed nearly three marathons in a row to raise funds for a mental health charity close to their hearts.

Ben Bell, 30, and Sam Gandy, 34, who are from Norwich and Ludham, ran just under 68 miles on treadmills in the space of 16 hours in aid of Mind. 

The charity is personally important to Mr Bell after his own struggles with mental health following the loss of a friend who took their own life. 

Mr Bell said this devastating experience "hit me really hard". 

After starting the run at midnight on Saturday, May 22, the pair completed their run around 4am on Monday. 

Exhaustion for the two men after completing their epic challenge in aid of Mind

Exhaustion for the two men after completing their epic challenge in aid of Mind - Credit: Submitted


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Mr Bell, who works as a personal trainer for The Gym Norwich, said: "The pain I feel today is like nothing I’ve ever felt but it is so worth it for what was an experience neither of us will ever forget." 

The pair have already raised a total of around £1,300 for Mind with funds still coming through on their Just Giving page. 

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"For me personally this was a massive step, and in a way closure to my own struggles with mental health," Mr Bell said. 

"I felt like now was the time to do something that could really help make a difference."

He hopes the challenge will not only raise funds for a good cause, but also encourage others to potentially come forward to be open about their own struggles. 

Mr Bell said: "The more stories that are shared, the more people will relate, the more lives are saved."

After starting off at a good pace, Mr Bell said it was around the 52 mile stage that the pain "really began to set in". 

The pain became so intense that the two were struggling to walk and "barely managed to maintain 5k an hour". 

Mr Bell said: "With Sam beside me, with the support we got from members and staff throughout the day, and with the amazing amount of donations we managed to generate, we managed to dig deep to persevere though all the pain and mental blocks." 

The fundraising page can be found by searching www.justgiving.com/fundraising/benbell-bbfp

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