10:40AM, Friday 07 March 2014
Raising awareness of mental illness is the aim of a former Windsor schoolboy set to run 150 miles across the Sahara Desert in memory of his brother.
Nicholas Chubb, of Buckland Crescent, Dedworth, will be taking part in the week-long Marathon des Sables from April 6.
His brother William, 25, took his own life in January after a seven-year battle against psychosis and bipolar disorder.
Nicholas, a Merchant Navy officer who turns 23 today, said: "When my brother turned 18, he had a psychotic episode and was hearing voices in his head.
"It took six hellish months before we got him the help he needed but he never fully recovered.
"He struggled with his demons for seven years and felt like there was no other way out so he took his own life."
Nicholas had originally planned to run the marathon as a show of support for William.
After William died he questioned whether he would be able to carry on with the race, but now hopes to raise £10,000 for the mental health charity Mind.
The former Windsor Boys' School pupil said: "William's death was hard for us as a family and it threw the race into doubt, but it has helped me to come to terms with the grief and I'm trying to take a positive from it."
The race itself, described by Nicholas as 'six marathons back-to-back', sees runners make their way across the Sahara Desert in Morocco, reaching temperatures exceeding 50°C during the day, which plummet to just above freezing at night.
Competitors will have to carry their equipment on their back, including food and survival gear.
Nicholas, formerly of Oakfield First School and Trevelyan Middle School, has been averaging around 50 miles a week in training by running on the decks of ships when based at sea, as well as cycling and swimming.
He said: "It's good for people to talk about mental health. At the moment there is a stigma attached to it but that's slowly being removed.
"A quick diagnosis is extremely important for a full recovery and I want to prevent people having to go through what my family went through."
Visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/nicholaschubb to donate.
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