South Shields woman completes running backwards fundraiser for mental health charity

Katie Clouston runs backwards in aid of Mind charity
Katie Clouston runs backwards in aid of Mind charity

A woman who turned to sport following her dad’s death has completed a 12-hour backward running test of endurance to raise funds for mental health charity Mind.

Katie Clouston started her fundraising venture at 8am on Tuesday at Harton Wellness Centre in South Shields.

Katie Clouston runs backwards in aid of Mind charity

Katie Clouston runs backwards in aid of Mind charity

For 12-hours she used the track to keep her focused as she carried out the feat, supported by family and friends.

The 33-year-old from Browntop Place, South Shields, had set herself a target of raising £500 for the charity - which provides help and support for those with mental health conditions - but had smashed that total before the event started.

In the end, she raised nearly £1,000.

Katie, who had turned to sport to help her deal with the death of her dad Tony, 62, in 2016, said: “I started to get into sport to help me get through my grief.

I’ve been really surprised with the amount I’ve raised

Katie Clouston

“I came to Harton Wellness Centre and started from there. I wanted to do something a little bit different and it was to help me turn a negative into a positive.

“Everyone at the centre has been amazing and so supportive. And when I said what I wanted to do, they got behind me and offered me the use of the field.

“I set myself a target of £500 but I’ve raised £960. I didn’t think anyone would be interested, so I’ve been really surprised with the amount I’ve been able to raise.”

Katie had been out and about - practising her backward running technique for two months ahead of her big day.

She added: “I started off for an hour to help get used to it and then went up to five hours.

“I never knew until I started looking into it, that there are championships in backward running.”

She added: “I decided to do this to help raise money for Mind, as running backwards is like how your mind is when your struggling, not focused on anything but all over the place.”

It is thought running backwards can burn more calories than traditional way of jogging exercise.

Mind was chosen by Katie as a beneficiary of her fundraising event after she found their support informative and helpful following her dad’s death.

The charity provides advice and support to those experiencing a mental health problem. It also campaigns for better services and understanding of mental health.

For more details on Mind visit www.mind.org.uk