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David to take on 12 ultra marathons to raise awareness of eating disorders

A former Driffield man has completed the first two legs of a challenge that will see him take on at least 12 ultra-marathon events during 2023, covering around 1,200 kilometres and raising £12,000 for two charities, after his struggles with eating disorders saw him hospitalised last year.

Despite suffering with several eating disorders for several years, which also affected his mental health, David Morrison, 32, who attended Driffield School & Sixth Form and still has family living locally, only opened up about them late last year.

His decision to open up came just weeks before the keen endurance athlete was due to travel to Jordan to take part in an ultra-marathon in the Wadi Rum Desert, and around the same time he was preparing to start a new job, which would see him relocate from Oxford to Bradford for a new chapter in his life.

It was David’s former boss who noticed the signs that something wasn’t right with his employee. It allowed David to address the issues he was facing and seek help from professionals.

Ultimately, he was able to travel to Jordan and complete the ultra event, but not before he found himself on an A&E ward after his potassium levels dropped to dangerously low levels.

It was whilst sat on his hospital bed that David had the idea that will see him travel up and down the country to complete around a dozen endurance events, including the Wold Rangers Way Ultra, which starts in Driffield.

And in his bid to help others in a similar situation to him, David will be attempting to raise £12,000 – £10,000 for eating disorder charity talkED and £1,500 for TRIBE Freedom Foundation, which helps fight against modern slavery.

“Prior to heading out to Jordan, I was having problems with work and my own health, which put taking part in jeopardy,” David told the Wolds Weekly.

“I was suffering with an eating disorder for a number of years and it took its toll and a strain on my body during the summer months.

“It was my line manager in my previous job who noticed that something wasn’t right with me and I broke down when he brought it up.

“It saw me open up about my issues for the first time. It brought everything into perspective and I realised that I needed to seek help.

“Eating disorders in athletes are very common but nobody really seems to speak out about it.

“Before I went to Jordan, my potassium levels were really low and I was admitted to hospital for 24 hours and placed on a drip, as my kidneys were on the brink of becoming unfunctional.

“It was a real shock but in the back of my head, I had been waiting for it. It got to the stage where enough was enough and my body had started to shut down.

“I’d lost lots of weight over two years or so, and none of it was intentional.

“Although I’m a lot more vocal about it, I still struggle to speak to people about it face to face. However, I am trying to use social media to get my voice heard.

“I want to help others, even if it just means that one or two people going through something similar to what I am speak out about it. That would be a success story.”

David’s 12-month challenge started in earnest in January with an event close to his West Yorkshire home.

One of his next challenges is the Wold Rangers Way Ultra, a 43-mile circular route through the Yorkshire Wolds that starts and ends in Driffield town centre.

He explained that despite the pain he knows he will put his body through for the rest of the year, it will all be worth it in the end.

“My first event was in January,” said David. “It was in a small village outside Shipley, so fairly local to where I am currently living and saw me run 54 kilometres along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

“Around four weeks ago, I travelled down south to take part in an event in Surrey over two days, running 110 kilometres.

“Next up, is an event where I will be able to plot my own route. It’s taking place in Oxford in an area that has several science parks.

“The scenario is there has been a nuclear meltdown and the area is full of radiation.

“Essentially, you have to plot your own route out of danger and run as far as you can in 12 hours.

“Later in the year, I’ll be doing Race to the Stones and Race to the King, as well as the Wold Rangers Way Ultra, which starts in Driffield.

“In September, I’ll be travelling to Sweden for a five-day event that covers 225 kilometres along the east coast.

“I’m still looking at adding more to the calendar as well.

“I love the satisfaction of completing the events. You put your body under such stress and strain, yet you still manage to come out of it at the other side.

“It’s a great feeling, even though your body aches in the days after. It’s a bug and anyone who is in the running community will relate to that.

“You also meet some incredible people at these events. Anybody is capable of doing them.”

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