Jim Breen to run 1,400km for Cycle Against Suicide

Businessman has been running more than a marathon a day since March 30th

Broadcaster Colm Hayes with Jim Breen before the businessman set out on his 1,400km run. Photograph: Brian McEvoy

Broadcaster Colm Hayes with Jim Breen before the businessman set out on his 1,400km run. Photograph: Brian McEvoy

 

A man who has been a life-long sufferer from depression is running the equivalent of more than a marathon a day to raise awareness of suicide prevention.

Businessman Jim Breen has been running 50km a day (31 miles) since last Monday week. In total he will run 1,400km over 28 days.

He is running the Cycle against Suicide route in reverse and will finish on April 26th. The Cycle Against Suicide then starts on April 27th and will involve between 7,000 and 10,000 cyclists over a fortnight.

“The purpose of the run is to raise awareness of the cycle,” said Mr Breen. He started off in Dublin and will run the equivalent of a marathon every day for four weeks.

The weather has been exceptionally good this week but he had to endure icy winds in his face last week.

Mr Breen said he has been training for his marathon of marathons for the last 40 weeks. “Every day you just think about the day ahead. I don’t think about it further than that.” He survives with an ice bath, physio and two dinners every day.

Mr Breen, who founded Pulse Learning, first went public with his own struggle with depression in 2012, when he participated in RTÉ’s The Secret Millionaire.

“It was the first time that I had admitted even with myself that I had a battle with depression,” he said. “I expected a bit of ‘what’s he got to be depressed about’ but I was surprised with the love, the empathy and support I got out of that programme with everyone saying, ‘how can we help?’ That’s what Cycle Against Suicide is about.”

Mr Breen is hoping to be joined by Sonia O’Sullivan somewhere along the route. “Given my love of running, I knew I had to be involved in this new initiative, run for Cycle Against Suicide,” she said. “Running requires physical and mental strength, there are ups and downs, and from time to time we have to ask for help to get through the fatigue and the sudden urge to quit. And that is okay. We all have good days and bad, but together, we can make a real difference.”

Now in its third-year, Cycle Against Suicide (www.cycleagainstsuicide.com) starts in Belfast and finishes in Dublin on Sunday, May 10th.

The cyclists will cycle 100km a day though some will do one day or a couple of days.

The initiative aims to break the cycle of suicide in Ireland by working with schools, local communities and local and national mental health organisations to make people aware of the supports that are available for those in distress.