Aberdeen student embarks on 51-mile fundraising ultramarathon across Wales

Richard, Callum and Finn completed the gruelling challenge in 14 hours
-Credit: (Image: Richard Austin)


An Aberdeen University student has successfully completed a gruelling fundraiser in a bid to raise funds for a leading mental health charity.

Richard Austin, 27, and his pals Callum Davies and Finn Gibbens, ran a 51-mile ultramarathon on May 25 through the challenging terrains of Wales.

Setting off from the hamlet of Anchor in Shropshire on the River Severn, the trio set off from the border running from east to west in an almost straight line to the coast.

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It took 14 hours to reach the finish line at the Irish Sea off the coast of Aberystwyth; an idyllic location to end a challenge that had taken two hours longer than expected.

Richard and his mates faced an elevation gain of over 2,200 metres combined, with the terrain in a poor state following heavy downpours in the days prior to the run.

The trio facing challenging terrains along the 51-mile route
The trio facing challenging terrains along the 51-mile route -Credit:Richard Austin

Despite weather concerns, they were helped by a support team along the route, which was carefully planned to ensure they could be met at critical points such as the remote Cambrian mountains.

In taking on the fundraiser, the trio raised over £3,100 for Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), a charity which aims to take a stand against suicide through ensuring support services for suicide prevention and men suffering from mental health crises.

The run took the pals to Aberystwyth after 14 brutal hours
The run took the pals to Aberystwyth after 14 brutal hours -Credit:Richard Austin

Richard said: "While this run was the hardest physical challenge that Callum, Finn and I have ever undertaken, we all appreciate that the hours spent in physical pain and exhaustion on our part are far outweighed by the pain and suffering mentally that many people across the UK have to go through in their day-to-day lives.

"It is the thought that the £3,161 we have raised so far, which gives CALM the ability to provide over 256 potentially life saving phone calls, will be benefiting someone who really does need the support to keep on living and to hopefully bring them some mental peace."

The geoscience PhD student has called Aberdeen home for eight years, but Richard was proud to race across his home country, making the challenge even more special.

The Irish Sea marked the finish line of their impressive challenge
The Irish Sea marked the finish line of their impressive challenge -Credit:Richard Austin

And in preparing for his fundraiser, the great north-east scenery of Aberdeenshire and the Cairngorms gave him plenty of similar routes to test himself.

It was however the relaxing setting that would mean the most to the 27-year-old, as he urged others to make the most of the north-east countryside in a bid to boost their mental wellbeing.

He added: "While studying my PhD, I have witnessed firsthand the debilitating effects that mental health issues can have on people. I have found that for myself, getting outdoors on a run in the mountains of Aberdeenshire and the Cairngorms gives me time to relax and destress.

"I know running, or even walking is not accessible for some, but I am a firm believer that spending time outdoors, breathing in that fresh air and being as active as you can be, really does go a long way in helping you to take your mind off the challenges that we all face."

"While this epic challenge has been a success, and we are all elated with the money we have raised, sitting in the top 10% of fundraisers on JustGiving for the month of May.

"I know that people will still be suffering today and tomorrow going into the future, so I am committed to continuing challenging myself and raising as much money as possible for charities such as CALM to ensure that crucial support services will always be available to people in their time of need."

You can donate to Richard's JustGiving page here.