Jake Taplin recently took some time out of his busy training schedule to talk to us about running from John O'Groats to Lands End, in March 2020 to raise money and awareness for suicide prevention charity, Papyrus.
Approximately 1 in 4 people will suffer from mental health problems each year and Jake speaks to us candidly about facing his own mental health issues, how he's overcome them and why he wants to help support other people with their own mental health.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
In the first semester of uni I was at Leeds Beckett playing high level sport alongside studying, unfortunately I had a major knee injury resulting in a lengthy period of being on crutches had to move back home and transfer to Brighton uni. Sport has always been a major part of my life and I enjoy pushing my limits and finding out new limits, as well as the social aspects that sport brought me.
When I became injured it was like someone had taken everything away and I was left with nothing and it was completely out of my control. This sparked a massive decline to my mental health. I went completely into my shell and refused to speak about my feelings, masking it with the words “I’m Fine”. Late last year I had a complete mental health break down leaving me in hospital and forcing me to speak out. Since then I’ve embarked on spreading my true and honest feelings whilst working on things like my running and a CBT course and 10 months on I feel a complete different person.
Who are you raising money for and why is it so important to you?
The charity I have chosen to fundraise for is Papyrus, a suicide prevention charity. Their funds allow them to run “HopeLine” a 24/7 phone line that allows people feeling suicidal, people who may become suicidal and friends and family worried about an individual to call and speak to a trained staff member. For me, although I never truly was suicidal I wouldn’t say I never had thoughts of it. Since learning more I have seen how preventable so many suicides are, yet suicide is the leading cause of death in young adults.
What are you doing to raise the money?
My mission is to run the length of the UK (John O’Groats to Lands End). A total journey of 950+ miles. I plan to do this as fast as I can with the aim of 60 miles a day (just over a double marathon every day back to back). For me this is a way of finding that new limit, seeing the breath-taking country we live in, whilst facing every element (rain, wind, sun and possibly even snow).
Can you tell us about your training.
My training is often long and gruelling; however I enjoy it. Whether I’m in the gym at AnyTime Fitness (a sponsor of the run) or I’m out on the downs, I love the progress and process I make each day. I work with a full-time coach, Harrison Rolls King (British triathlete and Ironman 70.3 racer) who coordinates my training and nutrition.
I’m fortunate enough to have friends who work at or are on Master degree programmes at the Uni who support me with my strengthening and conditioning as well as profiling my fitness (Benjamin Sayers and James Wappett) and without these guys I’d truly struggle to maintain my training load.
Finally, can you tell us what you like most about Eastbourne.
There’s not a lot I don’t like about Eastbourne. Being a local boy, I’ve always enjoyed living here. My family live in herstmonceux, meaning that I’m often out running across the marshlands, or if I’m down in the town I’m often found racing around the South Downs.
Even when it’s raining and cold, the scenery and nature around the town are stunning and even on my most stressful of days I’m only ever 5 minutes from my next adventure...and that’s what I love.
You can donate to Jake’s fundraising page here.
More information on the papyrus charity can be found here.
Photos by Luke Cole & Luke Gardner