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Picture: Screenshot

Heroes of SA: Marathon man to soon break world record in a bid to raise funds for SADAG

By Yasmine Jacobs Time of article published Sep 11, 2021

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Cape Town – Covid-19 has impacted every sector in South Africa and affected the livelihoods of millions across the country.

It is important now more than ever to extend a helping hand and be there for people when you can.

We celebrate the Good Samaritans and unsung heroes in our communities.

Running for SADAG Suicide Hotline

The Half Marathon Challenger and restaurateur Henry Cock is on a mission to raise funds and awareness for mental health and break a Guinness World Record by running the most consecutive half marathons in a row, in 133 days.

The 2 800km run started at Kosi Bay, South Africa, and will end in Vioolsdrift, Namibia.

On September 12, he will reach the halfway mark, in St Francis, which will break a Guinness World Record.

Cock is doing this to raise money for the SA Depression and Anxiety Group’s (SADAG’s) National Suicide Helpline.

This is especially important for this helpline as calls received have increased from 600 to over 1800 daily.

It first started as a joke during a night of banter, but Cock slowly started taking it seriously and began his mission on the road.

What keeps him motivated is having experienced mental stress and exhaustion as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and a number of personal and financial problems.

These problems resulted in him seeking professional mental health assistance. He later realised that this kind of help was not readily available to the millions of South Africans needing it, due to difficult financial situations and location.

“My goal is to raise upwards of R4 million for the South African Depression and Anxiety Group who are at the forefront of patient advocacy, education and destigmatisation of mental illness in our country. Their expertise lie in assisting patients and callers throughout South Africa with mental health queries.

“If I can raise 10c from every South African citizen I will reach my target. Will it come from every citizen? No, it won’t. I’m asking 8000 people to donate 10c for every kilometer I run in 2021, including my training,” said Cock.

According to a study by pharmaceutical company, Pharma Dynamics, 56% of adults are experiencing higher levels of emotional and psychological stress compared to before the pandemic.

“Henry’s fearlessness to achieve the amazing halfway mark of 66 half marathons to break the Guiness World Record of the most consecutive half marathons is so commendable. His incredible initiative and raising money via Back-a-Buddy is helping Sadag to reach many more people on our helplines,” said Sadag founder, Zane Wilson.

Henry insists that this journey is not about him.

“I’m not a runner. I’m not a professional athlete at all. I’m no one special – and I think that’s the important thing. I’m a regular guy who knows how important your mental health is.

“I only began running in October last year. Crazy? Maybe. But my point is to show that it’s never too late to start. To set a goal. To focus on achieving something even if it seems unreachable.”

You can show your support for Henry as he continues to bring the title of record holder home by following his journey on Instagram (@cock.Henry) – send messages of encouragement or share his stories.

You can also make donations on his Back-a-Buddy fundraising page, Mentally Aweh.

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