COLEBROOK’S SUMMER OF OUTLAW
On World Mental Health Day we’re highlighting Liam Colebrook’s story, from considering taking his life in Sept 2022, to volunteering on the Outlaw X finish line in Sept 2023.
He travelled the world by business class as a director of a construction company, had completed long distance triathlons and was a proud Dad, but throughout these perceived ‘successful’ years, Liam struggled with his mental health.
“In September 2022, I was riddled with addiction, full of anxiety and suffering severe depression. I reached a point that I had to choose to live or do the unimaginable.
“I chose to enter a residential rehabilitation programme to work on recovering from the crippling impact of my mental health. This time was the toughest I have faced, and I hope no one else has to go through what I did. However, in February I began to see daylight.
“By May, my mental health was improving; I was feeling better than I ever had before. This coincided with Outlaw Half Nottingham. Into my inbox arrived an email asking for volunteers on a bike feed station. I jumped at the chance.
“I camped in the volunteer camp; the first time ever being content in my own company, and my kids did the Future Outlaw (they loved it). The ‘summer of Outlaw’ began.
“I volunteered at Holkham and did the Holkham 10km. The drive home to Derbyshire was long, but it was clear I was finding my tribe and was in a good place within the triathlon community.
“I volunteered and camped again at Outlaw Nottingham and did the Outlaw Swim. By now I had gone public with my challenges and begun to do talks to help others. I couldn’t have done this without the confidence and mental holiday that Outlaw gave me.
“Finally, came Outlaw X in Thoresby. This time I brought the kids with me. I had no money, despite working full time (addiction is expensive!) and this was our summer holiday. We set up the Outlaw flags on the Friday, were on a water station on Saturday, and on Sunday we gave medals to finishers.
“But it was more than medal giving; as the winners crossed the line, it was exactly one year to the hour that I reached out to a charity that ended up saving my life.
“I can’t overstate the impact that this summer had on my recovery. I was spending time outdoors, giving back to a community that I enjoyed being part of, living a healthy active life with likeminded people and getting to spend quality time with my children.
“For those struggling with their mental health, these are the steps I’d urge anyone to try; seek the right professional help for you, remain healthy, find something positive to focus on and enjoy being active outdoors with your tribe.”