Adrian Herron will run from here to Point Lookout to raise awareness about depression

This Nambucca teacher is on the run - to start conversations around depression

Adrian Herron comes across as a pretty mild-mannered guy when I meet him in his 'office' at Nambucca Heads Public School ...

But behind the assistant principal's gentle smile is clearly a bloke with an iron commitment to take on challenges and conquer those obstacles, mental and physical, that confront him enroute.

Take for example his latest project - to leave his home in Valla at sunset on September 20 and run continuously for 24 hours to reach Point Lookout in New England National Park by sunset the next day - its a distance of about 100km that rises from near sea level to 4700m, a third of which is in the final steep 26 kilometres.

And he's doing it not only because it is a route that has been beckoning him for some time, but also to shine a headlamp on the work of Beyond Blue, fundraising and putting his hand up to say he is open to having those conversations with others that are so vitally important for mental health.

This is going to be hard. I have never run this far before and there will definitely be some dark patches (quite literally). Anxiety, depression and suicide have all impacted many of my loved ones and in turn affected myself

Adrian Herron

"... this run is symbolic in many ways - I will leave at night and run through the night into the dawning of the day," Adrian said.

"Depression is not something that is easy to share, it is lonely and dark but you need others to come through it. This run is something I can only do with the help of friends, mates who will be there along the way at pit stops to top me up."

Challenges and adventures are something Adrian clearly thrives on - prior to arriving in the Nambucca Valley, he worked on Aboriginal communities at Daly River (222 kms south west of Darwin) and Croker Island (off the coast of West Arnhem Land), where crocodiles and wild buffalo were a part of daily life.

"I only started running in November 2017, initially to get fit but then I started exploring the State Forest tracks around here and started seeing the bush and the birdlife, the lyrebirds. It is another view, completely different from that of the coast.

"Last year I raced in New Zealand, a 72km 'run' around a volcano and when I finished I felt good and that made me wonder if I had run hard enough, what I was really capable of."

Adrian said through having a profile on Instagram and sharing some of the material from the Beyond Blue website, people have started to chat with him about what is happening for them.

"Those conversations are really hard to have, especially for men.

"Here at the school we run a program for the kids about socio-emotional wellbeing, its a big focus because if your mental health is good, so are your chances of success.

"The same goes for our staff. We are developing a wellbeing program to help teachers take care of themselves and manage stress - it is so important."

To support Adrian and make a donation at Beyond Blue CLICK HERE.

He is also inviting anyone who is interested to join him for the last 20 kilometres, from Mt Killiecrankie to Point Lookout:

"I don't anticipate I'll be moving very fast at that point and anyone is welcome to join me and do it at their own pace."

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