A triathlon for mental health

On Saturday, September 26, local Stacy Harsh will be completing her own half Ironman on the Central Coast to inspire others to stay mentally and physically fit and raise money for the charity, Central Coast ARAFMI.

By sharing inspiration videos her Facebook and Instagram page, Tri 4 Mental Health, she hopes to encourage others to find ways to continue doing things they love, despite the restrictions imposed by COVID-19.

A MyCause fundraising page has been set up to raise $2000 for ARAFMI, who support not only people struggling with mental health issues but also the families and carers.

At the beginning of the year, Harsh enrolled in multiple exercise events which later got cancelled.

“I was so disappointed because training for events was giving me something to do and strive for.

“So I decided I didn’t need an organised event to do a triathlon, I could just keep training and do one myself.

A half ironman, or Ironman 70.3, consists of a 1.9km swim, a 90km ride and 21km.

“I have been training for it, but I have never done a triathlon before, so it is certainly going to be challenging,” Harsh said.

Exercise has always pushed her through the hardest times, and she believes that now is more important than ever to stay mentally and physically fit.

“Before I started this fundraiser, I had friends telling me how they were inspired to get out and exercise because they saw me do it and before I knew it, my friends and I were all motivating each other.

“I wanted to show others how they can still achieve their goals no matter what life throws there way,” Harsh said.

She said she chose to support Central Coast ARAFMI because they supported people dealing with mental health issues.

CEO of Central Coast ARAFMI, Rhonda Wilson, said she believes caring for your health, body and social being is essential in keeping one’s mind healthy.

“Exercise isn’t just about exercise, it reduces your isolation, changes your metabolism, and it invites you to another resource in your life.

“We are really grateful that Stacy is helping us spread this important message,” Wilson said.

Dr Ash Bowden, aka Doctor Do More, has also been running his own exercise fundraiser on the Central Coast.

“I am running a September Step challenge to raise money for the Cancer Council and to try and get people more active.

“My biggest fear was that people were going to be less active because of COVID, which can be such a trigger for a decrease in mental wellness.

“We know exercise improves cognition, decreases the risk of many cancers, massively improves mental health, and we know from lots of studies it is as good as an anti-depressant for mild to moderate depression or anxiety,” Bowden said.

Harsh will have a small support crew with her on the day, yet she is not inviting the public to join her due to social distancing measures and COVID restrictions.

“As much as I would love everyone to join me, I want to make sure everyone is staying safe.

“I am still encouraging anyone who sees me on the day to give me a yell, or you can follow my progress on social media. 

The businesses Strategiq Business Advisers and Fluid Movement Performance have been huge supporters of Harsh’s cause.

The link to the donation page is on her Facebook page, Tri 4 Mental Health.

Reporter Jacinta Counihan

Central Coast Newspapers is proudly supporting this positive project.