To raise awareness of suicide prevention and money for the charity CALM, Frankie Tinsley is swimming, cycling and running his way from Land’s End to John o’ Groats, going through some of Britain’s biggest lakes and lochs and over the biggest mountain’s in England, Scotland and Wales on the way.
Between 2016 and 2017, Tinsley lost two friends to suicide and the idea of the Talisman Triathlon was something that he and one of those friends had conceived.
Having set off from the southern tip of England on Saturday 7 August and due to complete his journey to the top of mainland Scotland on Saturday 21 August, Tinsley will have travelled over 1,700km in two weeks through his Talisman Triathlon challenge.
“Five years ago I’d planned with a friend to do a triathlon across the UK and, sadly, four or five months later, Andy had taken his own life,” Tinsley explained.
“I thought back to the last time I’d spent with him and I was like, ‘oh we were planning that Great British triathlon’. Then I was like, ‘it looks like I need to that in legacy and to raise awareness around it’. That’s when I then started looking at the concept of what would be a Great British triathlon.
“It’s going from Land’s End to John o’ Groats by swimming the longest lakes and lochs and running from their ends over the highest peaks in Wales, England and Scotland.”
The swim, bike, run challenge is to raise awareness around suicide amongst individuals and communities, as well as to support the work of The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) which was first launched by the Department of Health in Manchester in 1997, before becoming a national charity in 2006.
The charity provides support through free and confidential helplines and webchats, working with communities across the country and with partners to deliver campaigns to build awareness around suicide and its impact.
“It was really important to me to pin down three key objectives,” Tinsley said. “The first one is to establish the Talisman Triathlon, which I understand will be the first time anyone’s ever done Land’s End to John o’ Groats via the lakes and the peaks.
“The second objective is to raise awareness and to talk about the relationship of physical fitness and mental health. Then with that, it’s to signpost the charity CALM.
“This is really important for me. Signposting a charity is not a solution, because that’s a safety net, we need to be proactive before that. I’d like to promote people being more self-aware and then with that they can self-regulate.
“Other people can give you a different perspective. Let’s say you are really struggling with something, that’s when your friend and your social network can jump in and put some different perspective on what you’re going through. So that’s what I’m really trying to push.
“Latterly, the third objective is, any money we can raise for the charity CALM is amazing. Awareness is paramount but funds are great.
“To put that into perspective, 125 people in the UK take their lives every week and 75% of them are male. CALM the charity, they break it down to about £8 per phone call and they’ve had a phone call every 60 seconds since the start of lockdown.”
Tinsley says that he didn’t choose the Talisman Triathlon but that it chose him. Through the challenge, he hopes to raise awareness around physical and mental health and encourage those who may be suffering in other ways to find hope and reach out.
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Photo credit: Matt Hardy Photography/Talisman Triathlon