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Fitness for better mental health: Team AWPT’s Story

It’s always inspiring to hear how fundraisers push themselves in aid of our mental health services, to improve both physical and mental health. This month, we spoke with Corrina Alker from Team AWPT, a group of like-minded fitness fanatics who took on Tough Mudder in aid of our local charity. You can read their story below…

Tell Us about Team AWPT: Team AWPT was formed as a collective of fitness enthusiasts, brought together by Adam Witherington, our personal trainer. Adam works in the mental health sector and is a fitness fanatic who understands the important link between physical and mental health. My journey with AWPT started after I began incorporating exercise into my life to try and help some of the mental health difficulties I’d been experiencing. What started as a group of strangers training with Adam has now become a tight knit group of friends and a supportive community. We meet at our local gym, without any big egos or over-competitiveness!

What were your motivations for fundraising for Manchester Mind? Various members of the team have been affected by issues relating to mental health, we all have our personal experience with it, myself included. Two years ago, following poor physical health, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. This had a profound impact on my life, affecting my relationships with family and those around me. After a combination of medication, CBT and the strength I found exercising with Adam Witherington, I started my journey to recovery. Physical exercise is not the only way to manage difficulties, but it’s certainly helped me regain motivation and energy to continue on in life. Adam knew I’d been having a tough time and when we decided to complete the Tough Mudder challenge, he asked me if there was a charity I would like to elect. I believe mental health services are hugely underfunded, and following my own experience, I chose Manchester Mind. Their work in the local community supporting people with mental health issues really stood out to me, and it felt like the right charity to fundraise for through our collective challenge.

How was the Tough Mudder challenge? We completed Tough Mudder 10K on 16 July in aid of Manchester Mind. We’d been training for months, but ahead of the day there was a definite feeling of apprehension and anxiety. Whilst we love fitness, the event was new to us, we didn’t know what to expect, nor how the challenge would turn out. Team spirit really helped, we were all supporting each other, and there was no pressure to complete every obstacle. The day became about pushing ourselves to personal limits and sharing the experience. After 3 hours we completed the challenge and were overcome by a buzz of excitement…we had done it! The food (and a cheeky beer) at the end tasted especially amazing.

What difficulties have you faced during the fundraising journey? We’re currently living through a cost of living crisis, which is undoubtedly having further impact on peoples’ mental health. We wanted to be considerate of this when asking for donations, as we know money is very tight for many right now. We shared our personal stories using Just Giving outreach tools and social media, with an intent to allow monies to come in with no pressure, so it was a slow process. We didn’t get disheartened at the gradual build-up of donations, focusing instead on community spirit and group training. Eventually, we exceeded our target and raised over £2,000 for Manchester Mind to the absolute delight of everybody in the team.

What have you learnt from the fundraising experience? I’ve learnt about the importance of giving back when you’re able to – I’ve used Manchester Mind’s self-help resources so many times for my own struggles, and it felt amazing to be able to give something back to this wonderful charity. On behalf of the whole of Team AWPT, I’d also like to give special thanks to Adam Witherington and his partner Charlotte for organising this charity challenge and building a special community. They aren’t just personal trainers, but genuine friends who listen to the issues faced by their clients and naturally bring people together.

If you are inspired by Team AWPT and want to fundraise for us please contact us: [email protected]


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