An Angus man’s birthday marathon in tribute to his best pal has smashed his fundraising target ten-fold.
Arbroath’s Ethan Bell set out to raise £600 in the run honouring Bailey Menmuir, the 21-year-old whose death at the beginning of last year shocked the town.
Ethan has now raised more than £6,500 for the Mental Health Foundation in generous show of community support for the challenge.
Into the bargain he comfortably managed to beat his time target for his first full marathon distance.
Ethan described Bailey as being like a “wee brother” to him.
The popular 21-year-old football coach was seen as fun-loving and outgoing by his wide circle of friends, but struggled with his own mental health.
His body was found close to his Arbroath home following a desperate five-day search.
Having used running to occupy himself in the difficult times following the tragedy, Ethan decided to take on the fundraiser as part of the Edinburgh virtual marathon.
“I can’t believe the final total is more than £6,500,” said Ethan.
“I just wanted to do something to help people who may be struggling themselves but to raise that amount of money is quite special.
“It’s really nice to know that people were keen to give so much to help.”
With mum, Lesley, pedalling alongside him for the full 26-miles, he also enjoyed morale-boosting support along the way.
“My mum and dad had organised for friends to be out on the route, cheering me on,” he said.
“It was really heartwarming. Coming into Arbirlot there was a big group and that really kept me going.
“I wanted to run it in under four hours and finished in three hours 46 minutes so I was really chuffed with that.
“It was all going swimmingly, but then with a few miles left to go I pulled a hamstring so that made it a bit tough.
“But I was determined to get it finished, for Bailey and for myself.
“I didn’t want to be that person who had been given so much support and then didn’t manage to cross the finish line.
“I would have crawled to the finish if I’d had to.”
Ethan added: “I know the money will really help people who are struggling, and hopefully it will also have reinforced the message that it really is just so important to talk.
“It might seem trivial but it can make such a difference to ask someone if they are okay.”