Nicola Gee celebrates with boyfriend Ben, Samaritans staff Kim, Andre and Reading branch director Sophie

Reading runner completes final event in 24-race challenge for Samaritans

A charity fundraiser has finished her final race after completing 24 running events in 18 months, raising more than £4,000 for Samaritans.

Nicola Gee, 25 from Reading, launched her challenge in January 2016 to raise funds for Samaritans’ emotional support services, which are available 24 hours a day. She struggled with depression herself as a student and Samaritans were there for her.

Nicola said: “I had always thought Samaritans was just for people who were suicidal, but I found out quickly that’s not the case. I’ve experienced severe depression, which took over my life, and one evening I decided to contact Samaritans and I’m so glad I did.”

“After that first text message it helped me open up – I felt more comfortable discussing my personal life, talking about the things that caused me stress and the low moods that often came over me from nowhere. One of the best things about Samaritans for me was that they helped me get back control of my life.”

Nicola’s 24 races represented the number of hours Samaritans is available every single day for those in need of a listening ear. Her gruelling race schedule has included the London, Berlin and Paris marathons, 6 half marathons and numerous 5 and 10 kilometre events.

Her final event, Endure 24, held in Berkshire’s Wasing Park on Sunday 11 June, was suitably celebratory. Described as a ‘Glastonbury for runners’, it’s a 24-hour running party in the woods.

As Nicola ran triumphantly over the line to complete the 50 miles in24 hours, and finish her ‘Samaritans 24’ challenge, she was joined by family and friends, as well as Samaritans staff and volunteers. As a thank you for all her hard work, Samaritans presented Nicola with a giant certificate and a specially engraved clock, to commemorate her amazing achievement.

Samaritans volunteer and Director of its Reading branch, Sophie Walters, said: “It’s great to hear from people like Nicola, we are so thrilled to have her support. To know that we were able to have an impact on her life, and help her move forward to a more comfortable place, is why we do what we do. Samaritans volunteers respond to more than 5.7 million calls for help a year – the time we give to be there for people in need is crucial for anyone struggling to cope”

Nicola Gee has found through training over the last 18 months that running is a great way to help manage her mental health and says she plans to keep it up.

Anyone can contact Samaritans for free at any time from any phone on 116 123. The number won’t show up on your phone bill. Or you can text 07725 90 90 90 or email jo@samaritans.org, or go to www.samaritans.org for details of you nearest branch.

You can find out more about Nicola’s ‘Samaritans 24’ fundraising challenge and make a donation here.

Nicola Gee celebrates with her boyfriend Ben, Samaritans staff Kim, Andre and Reading branch director Sophie

Nicola Gee with all 24 of her medals and her certificate presented by the Samaritans

Picture Captions

  1. Nicola Gee celebrates crossing the finish line with her boyfriend Ben
  2. Nicola Gee celebrates with her boyfriend Ben, Samaritans staff Kim, Andre and Reading branch director Sophie
  3. Nicola Gee with all 24 of her medals, Samaritans staff and volunteers

For further information, please contact Samaritans’ press office on 020 8394 8300 or press@samaritans.org

-Ends-

Notes to editors

  • Whatever you’re going through, you can call Samaritans for free any time from any phone on 116 123 (this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill), or you can email jo@samaritans.org, or visit www.samaritans.org to find details of your nearest branch.
  •  It’s the public’s kind donations and more than 20,000 trained volunteers that mean Samaritans is always there for anyone struggling to cope.  Find out how you can support us: http://www.samaritans.org/support-us

Nicola Gee’s Samaritans 24-race challenges included the following events:

  • Hyde Park 10K (31st Jan 2016)
  • Richmond Park 10K (27th Feb 2016)
  • North London Half Marathon (20th March 2016)
  • Reading Half Marathon (3rd April 2016)
  • Green Park Royal Berkshire 10K (15th May 2016)
  • London 10,000 (30th May 2016)
  • Bracknell Forest 5 (15th June 2016)
  • The Thames 10K (13th July 2016)
  • Battersea Park 5K (6th August 2016)
  • Maidenhead Half Marathon (4th September 2016)
  • Berlin Marathon (25th September 2016)
  • Royal Parks Half (9th October 2016)
  • Reading Santa Run (4th December 2016)
  • Windsor 10K (22nd January 2017)
  • Goring 10K (26th February 2017)
  • International Women's Day 5K (8th March 2017)
  • Surrey Half (12th March 2017)
  • Reading Half (19th March 2017)
  • Wokingham 10K (2nd April 2017)
  • Paris Marathon (9th April 2017)
  • London Marathon (23rd April 2017)
  • Henley 10K (14th May 2017)
  • Chase the Sun 10K (7th June 2017)
  • Endure 24 (10th - 11th June 2017)