Stacey Smithson aged 38 from Redbrook has taken on the huge challenge of not one, not two but an incredible nine 100km ultra-marathons. Stacey’s Challenge is raising awareness for Mental Health with 80% of proceeds going to National charity Mind and 20% going to local independent charity Mind Monmouthshire.
Stacey is no stranger to coming up with, and taking on challenges. During Covid lockdown Stacey walked up and down the stairs at home to the height of Pen Y Fan, and has previously taken part in a 100km SUP event and various fitness events, raising awareness and vital funds. But this is a new and even bigger challenge which is going to once again test Stacey mentally and physically, but one Stacey is well up for.
In the space of just a month the Monmouthshire gladiator has already taken part in 3 ultras over various terrains in the heat, managing over 280km. First was the Jurassic coastal challenge, followed a week later by the London to Brighton 80km ultra, and with just under two weeks recovery Stacey completed the Lake District ultra-marathon walk last weekend in 30hrs and 37minutes, a total of 106.54 KM at a total elevation of 2789m.
What motivates Stacey to do these challenges ………
Stacey Smithson said “These challenges are my way of trying to do my bit to raise awareness and funds for mental health support. I originally signed up to the challenges 6 months before my husband was due to retire from his 22 years of service in the army. In the time he served we have lost friends to suicide and we also have a good friend who suffers with PTSD who has attempted suicide. As well as this I work for Highways England and my role can involve dealing with suicides and suicide attempts.
We asked Stacey How the challenges have been so far?
Stacey replied “The events have been tough, each with their own unique challenges but they wouldn’t be challenges if they were easy. Having not done any Ultra distance walking events before it has been a steep learning curve, and with each event I have been figuring out what works for me on the walks along with what works for recovery between the walks. The body is an amazing thing, it is quickly adapting to what I am putting it through.”
What would you like to say to the readers of this article?
“I honestly feel that no one can say they have never suffered with some form of mental health issue, and we all need to be more open to talking about it and reaching out for support. I hope by doing these challenges it will help people and if one person reaches out and is not alone it is all worth it”.
Matt Pritchard from Mind Monmouthshire said “Stacey is an inspirational person. The thought of one ultra is a huge accomplishment for anyone but to take on nine is just… well it is hard to describe, unbelievable and inspirational springs to mind. All the staff at Mind Monmouthshire are behind Stacey and we wish her all the best of luck in each of these challenges, we also want to take this opportunity to say ‘thank you’ for choosing us as one of your charities you are fundraising for and thinking of us, and for the incredible work you are doing in raising awareness for mental health and getting more people talking about mental health”.
To keep up to date on Stacey’s Challenges see Stacey’s Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/theultrachallenge9
If you would like to know more about the work of Mind Monmouthshire please visit www.mindmonmouthshire.org.uk or visit Twitter: @Mindinmon, Facebook: @MindMonmouthshire
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