Overcoming depression and agoraphobia, this man is running to raise awareness for men’s mental health

Marc Rodwell was just 15 when he attempted to take his own life. Weighing 20-stone and after being severely bullied throughout his secondary school years, Rodwell was depressed and saw no way out.

“Growing up I was bullied terribly throughout most of high school to the point where I left early because it did nothing but make me depressed. I was so depressed that. I got to the point where I tried to take my life.

“I feel I was bullied because I didn’t typically blend in well with the other kids, they liked sports whereas I preferred video games. On top of that, I didn’t really have much going for me. I was overweight, wore glasses, had bad acne and was the tallest by a few inches.”

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Upon leaving school, Rodwell became reclusive and agoraphobic – a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and avoid places or situations where escape might be difficult. This led to extreme weight gain, leaving him at around 40 stone.

When he was 19, Rodwell’s mother fell ill, collapsing due to a heart condition that left her brain damaged. Yet Rodwell remembers this as a time that compelled him to change; “it was just me and my dad, and we didn’t always get along. My mum would end up being in hospital for four years before passing away.

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“I decided to turn my life around because I didn’t want to waste another day sitting on my bum doing nothing but feeling sorry for myself.

“I wanted to see myself happy like my mum would have wanted for me.”

With professional help, Rodwell was able to build his confidence, get back in the gym and start eating healthily. Losing 20 stone along the way, Rodwell moved out to live by himself and became a fitness instructor.

Along with his girlfriend Fay, Rodwell ran the MoRun Edinburgh and Glasgow in 2017 – MoRuns are races that take place throughout November, raising money and awareness for men’s health through their charity partner, the Movember Foundation

Rodwell has gone on to become an ambassador for MoRun, raising approximately £7,000 for the charity that helped him. Telling Runner’s World, “my role as a community ambassador is to help raise awareness about the Movember campaign through sharing my story and helping those who might be suffering. I try and hold as many events as possible each year to give more insight into the campaign and raise money for the fantastic causes it helps. Words can’t describe how happy I was to be one of the seven in the UK to be offered that chance.”

To support Marc’s fundraising efforts, visit his website here, or to find a MoRun near you, visit mo-running.com.