A BRADFORD man who recently took up running for his own health has challenged himself to 10k every day throughout February.

Jake Smedley, who lives with his wife and two boys in Oakenshaw, wanted to get outdoors after the emotional toll of shielding and losing his grandfather.

Now, just weeks after taking up the sport, he embarked on a charity challenge, raising more than £1,000 for The Speak In Club - a new, safe space at Dudley Hill RLC for those who want to talk about their mental health.

Much like the charity's Elliott Cousins and Neil Wall, Jake has a personal connection to the cause which motivates him to do good.

Jake told the Telegraph & Argus: "I think my biggest issue was that I didn't admit it to myself, I just felt down. It took me to have a breakdown to try get help through the NHS and I got put on a waiting list and, two weeks later, missed a call and I was back at the beginning of the list. I wasn't suicidal, I never really spoke to a proper professional but I was down in the dumps and when I was waiting two week for someone to call me, something like the Speak In Club, someone just to talk it over with - sometimes you build a lot of stuff up inside, you don't get it off your chest.

"My wife, she's so supportive. She always has been. I sort of dealt with it day by day.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Jake after a 10k run in Victoria ParkJake after a 10k run in Victoria Park

"When I started running it was just a case of raising money. Probably selfishly, getting myself out, making sure I had a goal in mind.

"It was the last day of January and I was talking to my wife and I said, I want to keep running, I'd like to carry on doing it and if I'm going to do something I might as well do it for a good cause. I can't remember if I'd seen it a bit later but I just remembered about Speak In Club. I played rugby when I was younger. As much as money's good I think it's supporting the message as well, bringing their profile up."

Since starting the challenge, Jake has started a running revolution across the West Yorkshire region with people who never thought they'd be able to run getting involved.

Jake's mum, who is 56, was inspired herself and managed to run the full 10k.

And, in what is a poignant message for these times, more people have reached out to the organisation after spotting Jake wearing the club's merch.

"I just had a message, a lad that came for a run and ended up doing a full 10k, he went out for a walk and walked past a guy and the guy lit up but didn't say anything and he said, 'Look I've noticed the logo on your hat, I'd seen the kid doing the running' and he ended up asking for Elliott's details as he needed to make use of their services.

"A lot of the time there's nobody telling you that you can't do something apart from yourself. I've had a few people come running and I've had people just message and saying, 'It's great what you're doing'."

The GoFundMe page has now raised £1,225 and anyone can donate by searching t.ly/HOVP

Aimed at all ages, backgrounds and genders, Speak In Club gives people the chance to discuss issues with like-minded people and access free support. As restrictions continue, the club will be operating walking sessions outdoors, providing free tea and coffee to-go to warm people up. Elliott has also got a team of specialists, therapists, youth workers, nutritionists, financial advisors and more on board. To get involved, email thespeakinclub@gmail.com or message the Speak In Club's Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.