'Inspirational' woman raises £24k for mental health charity by completing 24 half marathons in 24 days

Charlie Smith on her final half marathon on Christmas Eve (Charlie Smith)
Charlie Smith on her final half marathon on Christmas Eve (Charlie Smith)

A radio producer who attempted to take her own life at the start of the year has completed her 24th half marathon in 24 days to raise money for a mental health charity.

Charlie Smith spent the first three months of 2021 in hospital after attempting suicide.

As she set out on her final run on Christmas Eve, she spoke to Yahoo News UK.

She said: "I'm not a runner but I really wanted to do this and raise as much as I could. I set myself a goal of £500 and every time I check my total I feel overwhelmed, I'm lost for words."

By Friday lunchtime Charlie had raised more than £24,500 for mental health charity Mind.

As she live Tweeted her challenge from her account @Charliersmith1 she received messages of support from followers who have praised her as "an inspiration" and her hashtag #CharliesLastPush on her final day saw her trending on Twitter.

She said: "I’ve struggled with my mental health for as long as I can remember, being diagnosed with bipolar, anxiety and OCD.

The hashtag #CharliesLastPush was trending on Twitter on Friday (Twitter)
The hashtag #CharliesLastPush was trending on Twitter on Friday (Twitter)

"This year has been particularly hard for me. In January, I was considered a risk to myself and was sectioned, spending the majority of the next three months in hospital.

"It was the hardest thing I’ve gone through - especially the first three weeks, where the ward was shut down due to positive COVID cases. I couldn’t leave my room, and was terrified to say the least."

Smith, from Leeds, said that reading the Mind website and knowing she was not alone gave her comfort when she was at her most unwell.

"Mind were there to help," she wrote on her JustGiving fundraising page. "I spent hours on their website, reading over my rights, what I could expect going forward, different treatment options etc. I read the stories of others, and instantly felt less alone.

Injury hit Charlie on her 23rd half marathon but she pushed on smiling to complete her challenge (Charlie Smith)
Injury hit Charlie on her 23rd half marathon but she pushed on smiling to complete her challenge (Charlie Smith)

Read More From Yahoo News UK:

Decision on COVID restrictions based on 'wider impact on society, not just hospitalisations'

Father of four boys killed in house fire pays emotional tribute

'We want to let them know there's no shame': Why this couple volunteer in a foodbank at Christmas

"Whilst I’ve remained out of hospital since April, I’ve still had a really hard time since then. In August, my mood took another crash, and since then, I’ve really struggled with anxiety and depression.

"It has made leaving the house really hard - which means doing this challenge is going to be difficult to say the least! However, I’m determined to complete it - raising money for a great charity, and saying ‘screw you’ to my mental illness in the process."

Smith came up with her challenge just two days before starting on 1 December - and has since faced ice, injuries and exhaustion as she ran, walked and jogged 13.1 miles each day.

Charlie's wife posted on Twitter that Mind had helped her cope when Charlie was in hospital (Charlie Smith)
Charlie's wife posted on Twitter that Mind had helped her cope when Charlie was in hospital (Charlie Smith)

"I have spent more than £150 in local pharmacies," she laughed. "I've bought muscle rub, paracetamol, two knee supports and an ankle bandage. I really should be collecting loyalty points!"

The 28-year-old has battled most of the miles alone, worried about inviting people to support her due to coronavirus and social distancing. But she said the support of friends and family has been strong.

"I have been live Tweeting my challenge and people that I don't even know have come along to offer support," she said. "I have taken my Staffy Colin on a few walks and am looking forward to putting my feet up with him and my wife this afternoon."

Charlie's wife Vicky posted a message of support on Facebook. She said that reading other people's experiences on the Mind website had helped her when Charlie was at her lowest. Referring to her wife as a "little star" she said: "When Charlie said she was going to choose half marathons over chocolate this year I was mildly concerned - but the little star is so close to finishing and I couldn't be more proud."

To sponsor Charlie visit her fundraising page here.

Watch: Which countries release the most CO2?

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting