Aussie trio take on New York in the name of mental health awareness

FINISH LINE: Matt Constable, Shaun Atchison and Charles Roche cross the finish line together in New York.
FINISH LINE: Matt Constable, Shaun Atchison and Charles Roche cross the finish line together in New York.

Friends Matt Constable, Shaun Atchison and Charles Roche recently completed a feat not many can attest to; running and completing the New York Marathon in under three and a half hours, raising money and awareness for the Black Dog Institute.

On November 5, more than 50,000 runners took part in the 2017 New York marathon, covering just over 26 miles, or 42 kilometres, with the trio completing the run together.

Former Port Macquarie resident Matt Constable said it was the perfect day.

“Crossing the finishing line together was a magical moment, out of all the people I was running with, to find both of my running partners with 40 metres to go was incredible, and then to be able to cross the line together was something we will all remember forever,” Mr Constable said.

With the average time to cross the line being four hours and 25 minutes, the boys did well to finish in the top six percent.

Shaun Atchinson, Charles Roche and Matt Constable after the race.

Shaun Atchinson, Charles Roche and Matt Constable after the race.

“Overall we were really happy with the time we ran, I have run that distance faster but it was such a special day and being able to share it with two of my friends and the atmosphere running in New York with the track lined with people 15 deep cheering you on was fantastic,” he said.

“The Americans know how to do sport and know how to cheer so it was phenomenal to be able to run raising money for the Black Dog Institute was a dream come true.”

The trio formed part of a larger group raising funds for the Black Dog Institute which aims to reduce the incidence of mental illness and the stigma around it by actively trying to reduce suicide rates and empower people to live the most mentally healthy lives possible.

“As middle-aged men, it all started after Charles, Shaun and I realised collectively how many people we had lost to suicide and wanted to do something active to help raise awareness for mental health.”

Overall runners for Black Dog Institute raised over $30,000 for mental health awareness and Mr Constable said if this awareness helps even just one person it is worth it.

“Before we left we had people come up to us and tell us really personal stories about people who had died and we also had some great conversations with people about mental health, so if it has helped even one person that is a good thing,” he said.

Matt Constable runs along with encouragment from the crowd.

Matt Constable runs along with encouragment from the crowd.

No stranger to marathons, Mr Constable says everyone should do a marathon at least once in their life.

“I think it is important for everyone to do a marathon at least once in their lifetime, and experience the utter exhaustion and the feeling of your body wanting desperately to give up but knowing you have to go on, I’ve never felt like that until I did a marathon.

“This particular marathon was definitely the run of my life and finishing the race was just magical,” he said.