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Surviving an Ironman

News / Surviving an Ironman

Published by: Tiffany Jones on Jun 20th 2020

Site Manager at Designer Group, John Blake bares his soul on a personal Journey to Mental Health Awareness.

In work and outside of work I have goals and targets, what’s important is you have the correct plan and the right people around you to implement that plan.

We are very proud of our Dublin-based site manager John Blake, whose story ‘Surviving Ironman’ has been published in the 79th issue of Electrical Trade Magazine. John has helped raised awareness of Mental Health within the construction industry, raising over £2,000 in support of Suicide or Survive, where the funds raised go towards letting people know they don’t need to suffer alone. The challenge consists of 20 people running, walking, cycling, swimming, rowing 1000km to reach a combined 20,000km. The team have raised over £20,000. All money raised by the 20.4.20 team will go towards putting on workshops in your local communities for suicide prevention and mental health and free online webinars.

We come with good hearts, passion and determination. We come as individuals who believe suicide prevention is for all of us to tackle, and all of us to own.

John heard how Suicide or Survive had helped turn Keith’s life around, how he was now an integral part of the SOS family as it strives to break the stigma of mental illness. Right there and then the former professional goalkeeper found a cause he felt compelled to rally around. A meeting was arranged between the two, the upshot of which was a commitment by John to undertake a demanding Ironman Tour Challenge that would combine his need for a physical challenge with the desire to raise funds for Suicide or Survive.

I’m trying to have an open mind to what the next day could bring. I don’t try to control the uncontrollable. I don’t worry about tomorrow until today is over with.

Pushing boundaries

At the Designer Group mental health and well-being is not a box ticking exercise,” John explained. “They are pushing the boundaries more than any company I’ve worked for with highly visible mental health support. I have a Designer Group Strava account (a social fitness network using GPS data) that a lot of the employees joined. They compete against each other, maybe over a cycle to work. It creates a competitive spirit and a bit of craic amongst the lads. Since the lockdown, it has created a good buzz within the company.”

Mental health in the workplace has certainly moved up the industry agenda, but not everyone is genuinely convinced. “When it comes to the Town Hall ‘Toolbox Talks’ there is the mention of mental health, but often not many indicators of passion to change. We need to get past that, to get to the point where we can talk, we can tell a colleague without fear of ridicule.

So what is next for John Blake?

John will aim to improve his Ironman PB and raise every possible euro to help answer the mental health SOS.

To read more about John Blake, his challenges throughout training and the iron man itself: https://online.flippingbook.com/view/609345/20/

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