Runners to ‘Storm the Castle’ for mental health services

The Chief Executive of a local mental health charity is urging athletes from across east Antrim to take part in the Storming the Castle race later this month.
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Karen Collins, CEO of AWARE, will be participating in the 10K road race in Carrickfergus on Sunday, August 21, with the worthy cause selected as this year’s charity partner.

After a two-year hiatus due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Seapark Athletic Club’s Storming the Castle returns and Karen, who is undertaking the 10K race to raise awareness and funds for local mental health services, is calling on other runners to put their best foot forward for the worthy cause.

Karen said: “I enjoy running a few times a week. I took up running about five years ago as a personal challenge as I wanted to run a 5K. We all know how good exercise is for our physical and mental health, and I can honestly say it helps me get some time out and away from the busyness and stress. It gives me great headspace to relax. I’ve got a bit competitive with myself and am always trying to run further or faster now. We’re delighted to have been chosen as Storming the Castle’s beneficiary charity. Running is a fantastic way to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. With the impact of the pandemic and the current cost of living crisis, more and more people are experiencing symptoms of poor mental health. This event is a brilliant way to promote the link between running and improved mental well-being whilst raising vital funds and awareness of the prevalence of mental illness and the importance of quashing the stigma.”

The Storming the Castle race will take place on August 21.The Storming the Castle race will take place on August 21.
The Storming the Castle race will take place on August 21.

Seapark AC’s Andy Smyth, race director, added, “Northern Ireland has the highest prevalence of mental illness in the UK. With the

pandemic exacerbating this, the race committee decided to appoint local depression charity AWARE as the partner to raise awareness of mental health services whilst demonstrating the positive impact of running on mental health.

“Registration closes on Sunday (August 7) so we encourage anyone interested to sign up as soon as possible!”

Event partner Mid and East Antrim Council will be managing a children’s fun run, ‘Chase the Knight,’ for four to nine-year-olds and a junior race for 10-14 year-olds ahead of the 10K event. Post-races, participants, friends and family will have the opportunity to enjoy family fun entertainment in Shaftesbury Park from 2pm, thanks to the support of local sponsor, Ownies Bar and Bistro.

Karen Collins.Karen Collins.
Karen Collins.
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Tickets are £17 (affiliated) and £19 (non-affiliated) - on the day registration £20 (subject to availability). For more details, visit

To make a donation to AWARE, check out