By Jorge Branco
A Brisbane man is attempting to set the world record for the longest time run on a treadmill in one week to raise awareness for mental illness.
Chris Jones launched an attempt to run more than 1,000 kilometres through the Tanami Desert in the Northern Territory last week to raise money for depression.
However, after just 200 kilometres, the 33-year-old and his team began to run low on water and had to turn back.
“We wouldn’t have made it to one of the communities for a re-supply of water without needing to have someone come from there to aid us and that wasn’t really acceptable,” he says.
But he is not giving up on the Tanami, saying this July’s treadmill run is a part of training for his next attack on the desert.
The trek was inspired by Mr Jones’ own battle with depression.
“It was only four years ago that I attempted to take my own life because of depression,” he says.
“I got to a point where I just did not want to live like that anymore.
“I was given a second chance and I don’t want to waste that.
“I want to show others that there is a way out.”
He says he chose to raise money by running on a treadmill as it was the most difficult thing he could think of.
“I wanted to show that even if you do have a mental illness or depression that it doesn’t mean you’re weak,” he says.
“You can have the strength to do some pretty amazing things.”
Dealing with depression
Beyond Blue CEO Kate Carnell says the benefits of exercise in treating depression are well documented.
“By raising the profile of exercise as an important part of treatment for depression he’s doing a really good thing,” she says.
“Many people don’t realise just how important exercise is.”
Carly Paerz from Lifeline and Uniting Care has been working closely with Mr Jones in his fundrasing attempts and says it is inspirational.
“It amazes me that he can do these mammoth tasks when depression is so debilitating,” she says.
The current record for running on a treadmill is 650 kilometres.
Mr Jones says he will be running 10 kilometres an hour for about 15 hours a day to reach his 1,000 kilometre target.
Anyone who thinks they might be suffering depression should call Lifeline’s support service on 13 11 14.