BY her own admission, Zoe Macaulay was not a runner before she signed up to do her first half marathon in 2014.
Now the mum-of-two has set herself the target of raising £10,000 to help save suicide prevention charity, the Joshua Nolan Foundation (JNF) which faces closure if it can’t find much-needed funds. Inspired to hit the pavement by friend and founder of JNF Laura Nolan, Zoe was bitten by the running bug and now runs her own successful outdoor fitness company MacFit Edinburgh.
She said: “I couldn’t run the length of myself before but when Laura asked for people to fundraise I said yes before I could really think about it.”
After only ten weeks of training, the 43-year-old stopped smoking and was a running convert – and had raised £1000 to boot for JNF.
The charity was set up in 2014 after Laura’s 22-year-old son Joshua died by suicide. Having experienced first hand how hard it can be to access the right services and support, Laura set up the charity to help others access specialist counselling.
Zoe, from Buckstone, has supported JNF from the start but after the devastating loss of her young cousin to suicide in June, raising money for the charity has become even more urgent and she set her two-year goal.
She said: “Very sadly my family experienced the effects of suicide first hand. That has made it even more important to me to do everything I can to raise awareness and make sure as many people in Edinburgh have access to the support JNF offers.”
With a full marathon as well as 10Ks and more half marathons under her running belt, Zoe, now a qualified personal trainer, is looking forward to conquering new challenges in her quest to reach her fundraising goal. This month she will be running the Scottish Half Marathon which sets off from Tranent on Sunday 23. She is training for next year’s Edinburgh Marathon and has other non-running events up her sleeve.
Running that first half marathon for JNF changed Zoe’s life by making her fitter but also giving her a new career. She said: “I loved the feeling at the end of the race. It’s important that my kids see me keep fit.
“The Joshua Nolan Foundation changed my life – not because I used the service but because exercise helped me to stay focused and made me realise that I can do whatever I can set my mind to.”
She added: “The prospect of JNF not continuing is awful. The great thing about JNF is it offers direct support in people’s time of need and they are breaking the stigma around mental health issues.”
She recognises that it is a vital resource for young men who often stay silent in their struggles: “For men there is not an awful lot of chat which is really sad.”
To donate go to mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/zoemacaulay4