Ben’s Wacky Races!

BTG prides itself on the way members open up to each other, sharing their problems and their successes. It’s really meant that men’s mental health issues have been at the forefront of the group over the last 9 years, with support being offered in a way we don’t often see in the construction community. It really is the members that make the group what it is. Their honesty and willingness to lend support to each other, as a collective, because they all understand how hard it can be in the industry. We’re all in it together. Going through the same issues, dealing with the same pressures. Ben is just one of those members…..

Ben’s Story.

Ben Brindley is a joiner. He has a family, likes to run. A guy just like any other.

With the pressures of any other.

Running his own business.

Spending time with his family.

Finding time for his own headspace.

It can be a difficult balance at times.

But it was a balance he could manage. Then in 2018 he had to have some minor surgery. Recovery took longer than expected, life began to unravel. Suddenly, family life, the business he had loved and the running that he needed, brought pressure, tied up with keeping everything going as normal, the perfect storm in his mind of what everyone around him expected from him.

That’s when the anxiety really kicked in. It was a downward spiral, that resulted in Ben contemplating taking his own life. This was when he sought help from his GP.

Working with a CBT therapist, Ben began to recognise the unhealthy level of perfectionism he had always carried with him. Constantly in his head, pushing him further, whispering criticism when things became difficult. Telling him that was what the world expected of him. The therapy has slowly allowed Ben to learn how to live alongside his anxiety – he still uses many of the methods he learnt during his therapy to focus on the here and now, which help him break down the challenges he faces daily into manageable steps to avoid the overwhelm that can creep up on us all at times.

The Mind Your Head Podcast, with Rob Muldoon, first brought him to the Lighthouse Club Charity. Rob supported Ben at one of his events, the Cheshire Half Marathon, last September.

“I went and met Ben a while back when he was doing a run near my house. It was the first of his ‘Wacky Races’ that he is doing, and he was really ill too! But he still managed to complete the race faster than I would if I was fully fit.

He has set himself a really tough task, but I know he will do it as he is a very determined person and has overcome a lot in his life. That’s why he feels so passionate supporting the charity.”

Ben Brindley and Rob Muldoon with the arrow and the Make it Visible campaign van

The Charity’s online support was what helped Ben when his good friend, Ant took his own life earlier this year.

“I met Ant through running, we ran our first ultras at the same race, we’d been out together with our families, and he supported me when I ran my seven marathons in seven days.
He went missing in September and was found dead after taking his own life, this threw me, not only the grief of losing a friend but also what I nearly put my family through.

Seeing what the Lighthouse Club do online brought them to my attention and when Ant passed the information on their site helped me with processing my grief but also trying to keep a level on my anxiety at the same time. Ant was a huge motivation for me during my 8-hr race as I dedicated this run to him and used this to push me on further than I would have anticipated to hit the 60km in 7hr 25mins with the barrow.

The feeling of guilt from thinking what I nearly put my family through was processed during that event, memories of good times with Ant, doing what we enjoyed seemed the most obvious way to remember him.”

And as if running extreme distances aren’t hard enough, Ben decided that a builder’s wheelbarrow should come with him.

So, what is next for Ben and the Barrow?

The next 3 on the list for the challenge.

12th – 14th Jan 2024: 4x4x48, at 8am on the 12th I head out for a four-mile run with the challenger and then do that again 4pm, then again at 8pm and again at 12am for 48 hrs! Everyone is welcome to come along and join me for a run and details will go up nearer the time.

2nd March 2024: Rasselbock Running Backyard Ultra (no barrow for this one as it’s brutal enough) in Sherwood Pines. This one is simple as the event has no fixed length in time or distance, you just have to run the same 4.19-mile loop every hour and you run until you can’t run anymore and there is only one finisher, the last person standing!!

Wilmslow Half Marathon on 24th March, to see if I can beat my previous half marathon with the barrow time of 1:53:56.

It would be great to see Ben supported at his events – if you’re local please go along and give him a cheer!

You can donate and read his story here –

“Ben has achieved amazing things with his wheelbarrow runs so far and this is just the start. His challenges are getting progressively more difficult, so we are hoping that he gets lots of support along the way. His dedication to supporting the Lighthouse Charity is inspirational, not only is he raising funds to support others in the construction industry, but he is also helping to raise awareness of the support that we can offer and encouraging others to reach out to us in times of need.”
Sarah Bolton
Chief Operating Officer- Lighthouse Charity

You can access the support through the Lighthouse Charity in one of the following ways.

  • By calling the 24/7 Helpline on 0345 605 1956 (UK) 1800 939 122 (ROI) you can get immediate support, over the phone, or you can have someone call on your behalf. The trained operators can help with confidential support on Mental, Physical and Financial Wellbeing, covering issues ranging from stress, suicidal thoughts, addictions, occupational health, debt management, tax advice and emergency financial aid.
  • If you don’t feel ready to talk, you can text ‘HARDHAT’ to 85258 (UK) or 50808 (ROI) and chat with a trained volunteer who can offer guidance and support on the same issues as on the helpline. This service is available 24/7 and is really useful if you can’t use a phone in private or just feel uncomfortable talking.
  • The Lighthouse Club Website offers a real time chat service, which is limited to the hours of 9am to 6pm, but is great for accessing when you’re at work and need to talk to someone but don’t have the privacy for a call.
  • You can download their self support app, available for iOS and Android from wherever you usually get your apps, great for support on the days where you just need a little guidance in your self-awareness and always ready at your fingertips.

We all need support from time to time, that’s what the Lighthouse Club is there for. Please click on any of the links to access the services they offer.

As for Ben, well he’s going to need our support to complete his challenges – for more details of his upcoming races, and to get the support of the BTG community, join us on FACEBOOK – you can find the links for all of our groups on the website pages!

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