Sergeant Naomi Benson of HQ Regional Command has run for 24 hours around a running track in Tidworth, Wiltshire, with a 3kg medicine ball strapped to her wrist to raise awareness of, and encourage and normalise conversations about, military and civilian mental health.

Her event is part of the nationwide fundraising Medicine Ball Challenge, which is raising money for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and Combat Stress.

The gruelling challenge at Tidworth Oval athletics track began at 6am on Wednesday 9th February and ended at 6am today.

After completing her exhausting challenge, Sgt Benson will remain handcuffed to the ball for an additional six days to encourage more conversations about mental health among those she encounters during that time. She said:

I chose to take on the Medicine Ball Challenge because I love what it represents. The unusual concept of being handcuffed to the ball strikes up conversation and gets people talking about mental health, something that is so often invisible and forgotten.

I decided to go one step further by taking on this running challenge, as I thought it would raise even greater awareness. I decided on 24 hours to represent how mental health can affect people at any time of the day or night.

I’m hoping that by pushing myself to the limits, I will inspire others to take on the Medicine Ball Challenge and do their bit for those struggling with their mental health.

Robert Marsh, Director of Fundraising at Combat Stress, said:

We are incredibly grateful to everyone who takes on the Medicine Ball Challenge, but to take on such a gruelling endurance challenge on top of that is truly staggering.

We will be cheering Sgt Benson on through every step she takes in those 24 hours, and I am confident that her efforts will inspire others to do their bit to support those with mental health problems.

Sean Bonnington, Director of National Fundraising at ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, said:

Running around a track for 24 hours with a 3kg medicine ball cuffed to your wrist is unbelievably tough and we are enormously grateful that Naomi has decided to undertake this challenge to raise money for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and Combat Stress.

Her efforts will not only help us continue to support serving and ex-Army personnel struggling with mental health issues, but also raise awareness of and encourage constructive conversations around mental health issues.

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