“We grew up in Bristol and I wanted to end up there because there’s a mural for Fred on one of the big rocks by the river. In his last couple of years, Fred spent a lot of time crashing on my sofa while I lived in London and we spent a lot of time together there. They’re two places that reminded me of him most, so I thought why not try and run from one to the other?
“CALM offers help for people in their hour of need. They supply support avenues and opportunities for people to talk. You do a wonderful job of keeping suicide at the forefront of the media and you’re a presence that people respect. CALM also supports families who’ve been bereaved by suicide, which is really important. I think the work you do is fabulous and I wanted to get involved.”
Word of Ella’s run spread fast, and she quickly knocked her target of raising £5,000 out of the park, bringing in over £35,000 to support our life-saving services. She was blown away by the donations, and realised that suicide and mental wellbeing affect more people than you might first think.
“I was so surprised by the amount we raised. As the month rolled on, people were just so generous. During the week of the run there were lots of people posting about it on social media, the word spread and the money just came flooding in. I think it was something that, sadly, people can relate to.
"I had strangers messaging me saying thank you and that they’d donated. It definitely helped in terms of spirit.”
But how do you prepare to run the equivalent of a marathon a day for six days? As you’d imagine, readying yourself to cover that many miles takes a pretty intense training regime. But no amount of coaching could prepare Ella for how mentally and physically tough the challenge was:
“I spent all year training really hard with a coach and my support network helped me mentally prepare. My mum was my support vehicle for the week of the challenge. It started off amazingly and it was really fun to start with. Lots of my mates came down to see me off and a couple ran with me. It was pretty beautiful running along the canals but the reality of things started to creep in.
“There are things you can’t train for, like blisters and kit malfunctions. I got awful blisters on day two which meant that my running technique changed. Because I was overcompensating to not tread on my blisters, I really hurt my ankle, so the end of day three and four was pretty bleak. I ended up in hospital having X-rays.”
A hospital trip and a tearful video later, Ella announced she’d been given the go ahead to cycle the last day. With her family, friends and locals cheering her on, she made it to the finish line despite her injury.