It’s been an absolute honour to assist 22-year-old Matt Fenn this month to promote his big goal of running 654 km over six days, to raise awareness of mental health issues and suicide prevention. Matt began his run at 6am on 23 March, and crossed the finish line on Monday 29 March at 11.59am, only stopping for small rest breaks throughout!

Matt’s WHY: In the year June 2019 to June 2020, 654 New Zealanders tragically took their own lives by suicide.

Matt’s epic run was the equivalent of:
·       15.5 marathons
·       the distance between the Auckland and Wellington CBDs
·       406 laps of the Auckland Domain.

Matt, a volunteer ambassador for I AM HOPE, hoped that by setting himself such a massive goal, it would get people talking and sharing openly about mental health and how to access help and services.

Rather than fundraising, awareness raising was Matt’s objective for this project. It’s been very moving to see parents of some of those who are included in the 654 commenting on the story online and thanking Matt for representing their lost loved one in this way.

We achieved coverage for Matt on Seven Sharp (with another follow-up at the completion of the run), Stuff (Stuff also did a follow-up piece with Matt at the end of the run), RNZ , NewsHub and The Urban List. Watch the Seven Sharp coverage here and see the follow-up Stuff coverage here.