Support Spotlight – Dean

Supporter Spotlight - Dean

We’re so grateful to each and every one of our supporters, but for the last year, Dean has been going above and beyond to support PTSD UK and raise awareness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with his monthly challenges – and we’re SO incredibly proud of him!!!

Due to a number of injuries that he’s picked up, Dean is taking a well earned break from the monthly PTSD awareness and fundraising challenges for a while, but not before he tackled a final challenge on 27th June 2022 to mark PTSD Awareness Day. Dean attempted a double FKT (Fastest Known Time) on a trail in Scotland with a view to setting an ‘FKT’. “As I’m not the fastest of runners I look for routes that don’t have an FKT recorded so I can set it and hopefully someone else will come behind me and become a record breaker and do something amazing for themselves. I’ve done this before, in January so if anyone is interested in becoming a record breaker look for the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal FKT. It’s not a hard time to beat and I’ll even come and support you to help you beat it!”
 

On the Shale Trail, Dean completed 15.95 miles in 3hrs 26min 20sec! AMAZING!!!! AND the FKT has been approved so Dean is officially now a double record holder which he says ‘makes the pain and struggles all worthwhile!’

 
We spoke to Dean to find out a little more about his challenges, what he’s learned while doing them, and how he keeps up his incredible motivation and strength, even when he isn’t able to achieve what he aims for at times – an amazing attitude that I think everyone can learn from!!
 
“Last September I had to pull out of what was my ‘A’ race for the year. It had been cancelled a few times because of COVID so over 1200 miles of training on this particular route and I had lower back issues at 3 miles in. It hurt me, in fact it broke me completely, especially as I’d already had 3 DNF’s (did not finish) during the summer. I felt like a failure and the anxiety started to build. I was ready to give up running altogether! Then one evening, my wife told me I needed a new challenge. A new focus. So I came up with the idea of doing a monthly challenge to raise awareness of PTSD. What I didn’t realise at the time was I was already doing them!
 
The main thing for me was overcoming the fear of failure. The first challenge was one I named “Flashback”…2 miles on the hour every hour for as long as possible, with a target of 50 hours. I lasted 25 hours. It was horrible right from the outset. My own demons were playing up, the repetitive 2 mile loops, going back home after each one and having to leave the safety of my wife’s house. It really was awful and exactly like a flashback. 
 
When I said enough was enough after 25 hours my wife asked how I felt. I replied with “I gave it my best shot. I gave it everything and I’m happy with what I did” that was a turning point! I didn’t fail…I just didn’t succeed on that occasion.
 
December was a 496K accumulator challenge. 1k in the 1st , 2k on the 2nd ….31k on the 31st. I got to say 23 and had to stop because or a hamstring issue and found out later that day I had COVID.
 
There have been many other challenges but the hardest was in March. 4x4x48. 4 miles every 4 hours for 48 hours….but! I added a few little extras in as I was also training for a Guinness World Record attempt. So after each run I did an hour of as many sets as possible weight training. I lasted 26 hours….did I fail? No! Again I gave it my absolute best!”
 
Dean was also planning to set a Guinness World Record this summer, for a “Farmer’s carry with 100lb for the furthest distance in 24hrs” but unfortunately he’s had to call it off as he’s got nerve damage in his shoulder, arm and hand from the training. 
 
Yet again, Dean’s attitude to this was inspiring, “Yes it was disappointing but was it the end of the world? No of course not! I can still run so there are still other adventures to be had!”
 
Dean sees these setbacks as an opportunity to prove to himself that he can keep getting up no matter how hard life hits him. “Does it matter if I finish and set the records? No of course not! What’s important is I never stop trying. After all it doesn’t matter if we don’t succeed first time, second time third time or however many times….as long as we never give up we’re successful!”
 

Whilst Dean has been doing his challenge and training, he’s raised a huge amount of awareness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and PTSD UK – even wearing our merchandise has helped others! “When I finished yesterday’s run a gentleman stopped me for a chat after seeing my hat. He asked how long I’d been suffering with PTSD and said he’d been suffering since leaving the forces. I replied…

‘I’ve had struggles for many years but I was diagnosed with PTSD last year. I prefer to think of it that I’m surviving not suffering. You are too’

I hope it’s given him a new way of looking at things but if nothing else it left him with a huge smile on his face which wasn’t there when he first spoke to me. The power of positive thinking?”

 

He also was able to get support from others too when he needed it, “Something I hadn’t considered since starting supporting @ptsd_uk is wearing one of these buffs or my beanie hat isn’t just raising awareness that PTSD exists, the also highlight to people that don’t know you that you have it.

Two amazing ladies recognised I was having an anxiety attack while running in the local forestry this morning and saw I was wearing the buff. They walked me back to my car and stayed with me until I was calm enough to drive home ❤️

I can’t stress enough the importance of “it’s ok to say you’re not ok”

 
Thank you Dean  – not only for the awareness and fundraising you’ve done, but for being a truly inspiring hero with your ‘never give up’ attitude. What a legend indeed!!
 
 

 

If Dean has inspired you to support PTSD UK with some challenges too, you can find out more and sign up here for events like the Great North Run, London to Brighton cycle and much more!

PLUS you can get our doggo involved with our Wagathon in August!

or if you’d like to support us with something less physical, just pick your own challenge with the 22 in 22

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