Integral's financial controller gets muddy for mental health

David Ainsworth, Financial Controller explains why he is challenging himself to complete the notorious Tough Mudder:

“Back in October 2015 I weighed 142kg and was enjoying too much beer and red meat while living in Germany. As my son’s birth approached, I made a life-changing decision to drastically change my lifestyle, diet and exercise, and to shed some weight.

Over the next 15 months I shed nearly 60kg, via calorie counting and via the use of a personal trainer. Having reached my target weight, I then decided to start set myself new goals. In 2017 the goal was to take up running, starting with a Couch to 5k course, which I finished in the late Spring, and then 5k to 10k, running my first 10k in the Autumn of 2017, in under an hour.

I found that running/exercise is a fantastic way to maintain a clear head and deal with stress and in 2018 I set myself the target of a half marathon, completing the Cardiff Half in October 2018, in 2 hours 2mins.

This year I decided to take on the half marathon again, but also set myself a new target of completing the notorious Tough Mudder obstacle course. I have chosen to do so while raising funds for a small charity called My Discombobulated Brain, which aims to tackle the stigma associated with mental health, ensure people are aware of the support available, and help educate and provide tools to people at risk.

I joined the charity recently as a Trustee after bumping into an old friend-of-a-friend at a wedding. We had a common acquaintance who took his own life during university, and this was the one of the drivers that had led to her setting up this charity. At the time I was looking for some volunteer work and this felt like a good choice, as mental strength was what helped me to lose weight and complete the various sporting challenges that have given me sense of wellbeing. I wanted to help those less fortunate who were struggling with their own stress and challenges.

Since joining, I have completed their Charities Commission registration (now awaiting their assessment/registration number), helped pull their financial accounts into order, and am now helping the board of volunteers re the strategic direction for the charity.

If you would like to support their work please visit my Go Fund Me page. All donations gratefully received."