Sahara marathon effort to tackle depression

A Broadwater man is tackling the toughest foot race on Earth to help in his battle with depression.

Thursday, 7th April 2016, 10:05 am
Jon Cassell in his running kit of the six-day Marathon Des Sables

Jon Cassell, a DJ in Brighton, will set off tomorrow on a six-day run across the Sahara, covering 155 miles in searing heat.

He hopes his journey will inspire others, while raising money for two charities, World Vision and The Youth Sports Trust.

Jon, 38, said: “The race is called the Marathon Des Sables and is widely regarded as the toughest foot race on earth.

The Marathon Des Sables is widely regarded as the toughest foot race on earth

“The aim is to inspire those who struggle with depression, anxiety, low self esteem or any other mental condition that erodes their personal sense of self worth and value.”

Jon said he had been battling with depression and a dangerously low sense of self worth most of his life, however things took a serious turn in 2013, forcing him to seek help and take action.

“It became apparent that participation in sport and regular strenuous physical activity had played a key role in keeping my head just above the waves all these years,” he added.

“With this revelation, I am hoping that, starting with this race and beyond, I will be able to inspire and encourage others to tackle their demons head on and despite their own personal struggles, in turn inspire others to do the same.

The Marathon Des Sables is widely regarded as the toughest foot race on earth

“It doesn’t mean everyone needs to run across the desert, the challenge needs to be relative to the person, something to aim for and achieve. It could be running 10k, learning to surf, or just not watching EastEnders and going for a walk instead.

“The key is that it needs to be something challenging and ultimately rewarding and, where possible, involve some element of community and the great outdoors. It is important to note this is not an alternative to professional medical support but rather as an effective and dynamic support.”

Both of Jon’s chosen charities work with children and young people. Word Vision works with children in disaster-stricken regions across the world. The Youth Sports Trust is a UK charity helping young people overcome bullying and body issues, preparing them for adulthood, through the medium of sport.

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