The inspirational 30-year-old who smashed 30 challenges to raise £30,000 for charity

SHE has battled depression, overcome an eating disorder and dealt with physical abuse and so for her 30th year Abbi Naylor decided to take on 30 challenges and riase £30,000 for mental health charities.

Wednesday, 2nd January 2019, 9:28 am
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 11:25 am
Abbi Naylor from Lee-on-the-Solent who has done 30 challenges in her thirtieth year to raise 30,000 for charity.

Across five countries, the 30-year-old from Lee-on-the-Solent has tackled ultra marathons, ski challenges, tough mudder obstacle courses, cycle rides and ironmans in her bid to mark 30 years of her life.

She said: '˜I am completely overwhelmed that I have managed to finish the 30 challenges and the support I have got along the way has been fantastic. I don't think it will really sink in until after I finish but I am glad I can rest now.'

At the age of five Abbi faced physical and emotional abuse from her mother's partner and the traumatic memories would only go away through running.

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Abbi Naylor from Lee-on-the-Solent who has done 30 challenges in her thirtieth year to raise 30,000 for charity.

Abbi said: '˜When I was about 14, I started to get strange thoughts and deep feelings of emptiness. These feelings became more severe very quickly and the only way I could make them go away was to run. I would try to do as much exercise as I could however hard it was and however much I was aching.

'˜I also began to monitor what I ate; which quickly developed into not really eating much at all.'

After an eating disorder, depression and two attempts to commit suicide, Abbi, who works as a full-time expedition leader, decided she needed help.

She said: '˜After a few years of help from charities, professionals, family and friends I was back on the path I wanted to be and feeling good about my future.

'˜However at the age of 25, over 10 years after the start of my exercise obsessed eating disorder, my past reared its head once again and developed an extreme anxiety about time. I became reliant on creating lists, and this took hold. 

'˜The age 30 became an even bigger deal. The list I had of things to do before I was 30 was extreme. It was making me really stressed and unhappy.'

Abbi decided she once again needed help and was going to mark her 30th in the only way she knew how.

She said: '˜Exercise is a massive part of my life and my personality, and it's been a huge part of my recovery to understand how to include challenges into my life in a healthy and positive way for me and therefore I am taking part in 30 endurance events for my 30th year.

'˜I want to raise money and awareness about mental health and also promote strength and positivity and I want this story and event to inspire those survivors and not let past experiences destroy them and change them into something they are not.'

Abbi, who is currently studying a masters in crisis management at the University of Portsmouth, has raised over £20,000 to date for Young Minds Trust with her 30 events that she began with the 10k  Knacker Cracker in Surrey on January 1, 2018 and finished with an upside down triathlon near Hampton Court yesterday.

To celebrate her achievement and to raise the last £10,000, Abbi is holding a masked ball and charity auction at the Spinnaker Tower in March  

She added: '˜I want people to be proud of who they are and who they have become, as I am proud of the woman I have become as I have had a tough time becoming her.'

Throughout the year Abbi has been doing ultra endurance events to raise funds and awareness for Young Minds and mental health in the young. To date she has raised over £20,000 and looking to raise over £30,000 by the end of the challenge.


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