RUN FORREST RUN: Local marathon runner Gavin Bendall will be hitting the road for Movember.
RUN FORREST RUN: Local marathon runner Gavin Bendall will be hitting the road for Movember. Contributed

Rocky man's amazing run to tackle suicide

WHEN frontman Chester Bennington committed suicide in July this year, Linkin Park fan, Gavin Bendell, was struck by how "the happiest bloke in the world" could have been struggling with depression, unbeknownst to even his closest loved ones.

"They'd just released a new album and he seemed like the happiest bloke in the world but inside things were just burning him up and it's the same thing with some of my mates: sometimes it takes a long time to be aware that something is going on because they put up a brave face and you think 'oh they're alright, they're going to be okay' and it takes one little thing and they have a breakdown and unfortunately a lot of them get to that point where, like I say, they take the wrong option," said Mr Bendell.

 

 

RUN FORREST RUN: Local marathon runner will be hitting the road for Movember.
RUN FORREST RUN: Local marathon runner will be hitting the road for Movember. Contributed

Thinking about how his own loved ones have struggled with depression, Mr Blundell, 45, came up with the 'Run 4 Rest Run' idea, a tongue in cheek reference to the 'run, Forrest, run' calls he says he gets on his regular runs.

The charity run will see the born and bred Rockhampton local and cabinet maker run from Rockhampton to Yeppoon, Yeppoon to Emu Park, and back to Rockhampton.

"I wanted to do something to just raise a bit of awareness for depression and Beyond Blue, and Movember is very much about that stuff too.

"I do a lot of running and I think it helps with your mental state particularly with depression and...people struggle to sleep and exercising helps you get a bit of sleep. I just thought if people could get out and do a bit of exercise, maybe run around the block and then I thought 'well running around the block for me is really nothing, so maybe I just make it a bigger block'."

The regular marathon-runner has already raised over $300 for Movember and Beyond Blue, charities which raise money and awareness for men's health issues such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and suicide, and hopes to reach his target of $1,000.

Mr Bendell is encouraging local businesses to get on board and pledge a dollar per kilometre he runs.

"It's really about raising some money for the charity but also about raising awareness because depression is really a behind closed doors thing. People spiral into it through different things like loss, loss of relationships, that sort of stuff," he said.

"They become withdrawn from society and don't seem to be happy. But then again, people can go the other way as well. They go over-excited, they tend to be the happiest people in the world but they're not.

"I really want people to come out, blokes that might even be a little bit depressed, come out and have a chat and feel like they're not on their own and just maybe do a bit of exercise. I'm happy to walk parts with them."

 

RUN FORREST RUN: Local marathon runner will be hitting the road for Movember.
RUN FORREST RUN: Local marathon runner will be hitting the road for Movember. Contributed

Mr Bendell is also apart of the Rocky Road Runners and will be backed by his team "100 per cent", with a few members joining him for the run and others acting as his vehicle crew so as to supply him with water and nutrition throughout his marathon.

In preparation, he has done a 50 kilometre run two weeks ago down in the Blackall ranges near Mapleton, and will be taking a couple of days off before the event to give his legs a chance to rest and prepare.

"They're 100 per cent supportive of it," Mr Bendell said of his mates.

"They think I'm crazy."

In terms of inspiration, he admires actor Samuel Johnson's breast cancer awareness campaign for his own sister, which "raised the bar" in terms of raising awareness.

"Like the 'Love Your Sister' thing, sometimes you have to do something extraordinary to raise just a little bit of attention for something that normally gets hidden behind a closed door and nobody really wants to talk about...it's encouraging the conversation."

Mr Bendell will make the 113 kilometre run November 18, leaving Rockhampton at 2am from Glenmore shopping centre, and plans to cross the finish line back into town at 3.30pm at Rockhampton post office.



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