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By The End Of The Night

Ripon runner takes on London Marathon for suicide prevention

A runner from Ripon is preparing for the biggest run of his life to help save those who are struggling with thoughts of suicide.

The iconic London Marathon is back on Sunday 21st April and James Parkes from Ripon is preparing to conquer the 26.2-mile race for suicide prevention charity PAPYRUS.

PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide is the UK charity dedicated to the prevention of suicide and the promotion of positive mental health and wellbeing in young people. 

James, who is a member of the local running club Ripon Runners, secured a Club Ballot Place in December for this year’s London Marathon.

He first took up running eight years ago as a complete beginner when he joined a 'Couch to 5k' group, where he struggled to run for a minute at a time. Since then he has run distances of up to 15 miles.

With the support of his running community, James has gradually increased his distances in preparation for the London Marathon.

He said:

“It has been a tough journey to increase my mileage week on week, but the support I have received both in the way of running companionship and with donations has been amazing.

"I am driven to achieve this personal milestone and I am very proud to be running in aid of PAPYRUS.”

PAPYRUS is a familiar charity to James, one he has supported for the past seven years after being introduced to the charity by a bereaved parent whose son took his own life.

In 2018, James ran the Great North Run for PAPYRUS, hosted PAPYRUS Hopewalk and has been a big advocate of the charity ever since.  

In October 2022 James secured the role of PAPYRUS’ Area Manager for England North, covering West and East Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber, North West and North East localities.

He said: 

“I am inspired by the many volunteers and fundraisers I meet and I wanted to challenge myself to do something both physically and mentally challenging whilst giving something back to the charity, helping to increase awareness that suicide is the biggest killer of young people under the age of 35 in the UK and everyone has a part to play to reduce the stigma and encourage people to reach out for support."

James is fundraising through JustGiving and donations can be made here.

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