Recognising a Local Hero
What comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘Hero’?
A stereotypical answer that your 10-year-old self would have agreed with would be Superman, but nowadays it’s easier to spot super qualities in everyday people. An attribute we could recognise in an everyday hero is the compassionate desire to help others, and positively make a difference in the world.
The local hero we recognise doesn’t have to fight the bad guys late at night in tights, but he does wear running tights to help people of Newcastle fight their inner demons, and that is nothing short of heroic.
Lyndsay Walker is a mental health advocate, and after helping local charities, he struck up a great rapport with Lifeline and decided he wanted to do more. Lyndsay became a crisis support volunteer then founded the Newy 100 event to help support and raise money for Lifeline.
“I realised there is so much pain out there, and it needs to be broadcasted, and I’ve got the time to do it,” states Lyndsay on what motivated him to start an event.
The Newy 100 is 100km “by foot,” and there were 16 people total who ran and walked their way through a gruelling 18 hours to complete it.
Lyndsay explains the reason why it impacted the community so profoundly was that everyone became fully engaged with their motivation for completing the event.
“Everyone really engaged with our stories. We all had a different story as to why we were doing it. One fellow was 117kg, never done more than a 10km run. Eight weeks (of training) later, he completed it. It’s a lot about your mental strength and the community that got around these people. I had never run 100km in my life, so it was very new for all of us.”
The event had over 200 people turn up to cheer the runners on at the end, and they raised $50,000 for Lifeline. I don’t think I saw the movie where Superman did that!
After the success of Newy 100, Lyndsay doesn’t want to slow down. He’s focused on continually supporting the community to help people through their mental health issues, by using their mental strength to combat the physical hardship of exercise. Exercise is proven to improve mental health by reducing anxiety and depression, as well as improving low self-esteem, social withdrawal and cognitive function.
Lyndsay has been working out at Planet Fitness to prepare for his next event, as his routine enables him to have the discipline to learn longevity, stay focused and get through the tough physical challenges ahead. Lyndsay says he aligns himself with Planet Fitness’s ‘Judgement Free Philosophy’, and their desire to also help change people’s lives.
Lyndsay is dedicated to training at the gym for his next event, that will consist of 400KM in 4 days. From October 8–11 they will row, bike-ride and run before ending with the Newcastle Marathon. He explains that through talking to local Newcastle people, and promoting the benefits of exercise and focusing on your breathing, he can form a connection.
“If you connect with someone, it will fire up something in your brain. It is better than sitting at home, feeling isolated. Isolation creates withdrawal that’s when mental health starts to spiral,” says Lyndsay.
Lyndsay states that Lifeline calls are “up 25% since COVID, and 40% of callers are making contact due to loneliness, loss of their business or job.”
The importance of human and social connection is crucial, and that is why Planet Fitness lets you bring a friend for free every time you work out on the Platinum Membership. Working out with a mate can counteract those feelings of loneliness and enable people to have the support system they need to get them through those tough times.
Planet Fitness is thrilled to continually cheer on Lyndsay throughout his journey and help the people of Newcastle know that supporting yourself and others also makes you a hero.