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Health & Fitness How running helped this dad overcome his depression

19:50  12 february  2020
19:50  12 february  2020 Source:   walesonline.co.uk

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a person holding a frisbee: Nick Hancock, who hopes to run the Newport Marathan in under 3 hours © Westgate PR/Matt Johnston Photography Nick Hancock, who hopes to run the Newport Marathan in under 3 hours

A runner is looking to set a personal best, after lacing up his trainers helped save his life.

Nick Hancock, 37, was at his lowest point, contemplating suicide when he realised something had to change.

In just four years Nick, who now lives in Chippenham, has gone from smoking 40 cigarettes a day and taking anti-depressant medication to become a competitive ultra runner.

Nick will return to Wales on April 19 to run in the Newport Marathon, determined to finish under the three-hour mark for a new personal best.

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The soon-to-be dad of two, previously worked in recruitment and the job was having a negative impact on his life.

He said: “In a nutshell, I was doing an 80 to 100 hour working week in a job that I wasn’t enjoying, and it was getting to the point where I was hardly seeing my wife.

"My mental health started spiralling in the wrong direction, and it got the point where something had to change.

"I remember driving home from work at four in the morning and I actually started accelerating towards an oncoming car.

"I didn’t realise I was doing it. But something told me not to do it. "

a group of people in front of a building: Thousands crammed the streets of Newport to take part in last year's race © Mark Lewis/Huw Evans Agency Thousands crammed the streets of Newport to take part in last year's race

It was then he realised something drastic had to happen.

Nick, who's originally from Abergavenny, said: "The next day I called the doctors and got an appointment pretty quickly.

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"The doctor was very nice, and prescribed me anti depressants.

"At the time I was a heavy smoker as well, and I remember sitting there one day looking at my pack of cigarettes and the box of anti depressants and just thinking ‘what am I doing’.

"I threw them both in the bin and went to Sports Direct because I needed to take drastic action.

"I bought a pair of cheap running trainers and went running a couple of times before I made the decision to get away from the job I was doing.

"It just wasn’t healthy.”

The first-ever Newport Marathon:

Fast forward four years and he's in a much better place and running all sorts of races.

He did the Brighton marathon in 2017 and only recently, he completed a 43-mile Ultra Race from Brecon to Cardiff, finishing 9th out of 523 in Storm Ciara.

And Nick has a message for those thinking about breaking down their own physical and mental barriers.

"I’ve done a couple of marathons recently but I wanted to do one in my homeland where my family can come and support me,” he added.

"I’ve heard it's a really fast course as well so I’m targeting that personal best, I’m aiming to dip under the three hour mark and finish in around two hours 50 minutes.

“My message to those going through their own struggles, who are thinking about making a big change in their lives would just be - do it, it will change your life.

"Running has seriously changed my life, to the point now, I run competitively.”

For more information on the race, visit the Newport Marathon website.

Too much sitting in adolescence linked to higher risk of depression – study .
Researchers found that those who did an additional hour of light activity each day saw a reduction in depressive symptoms when they reached 18. They analysed data on 4,257 adolescents, who were taking part in the University of Bristol’s Children of the 90s cohort study.The participants wore accelerometers to track their movement for at least 10 hours over at least three days, at ages 12, 14 and 16, except when washing or during water sports.These devices showed whether the child was sedentary, engaging in light activity such as playing an instrument, or moderate to physical activity such as running.

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