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Glasgow Live
Glasgow Live
Jordan Shepherd & Keiran Fleming

Erskine woman becomes ultra-marathon runner after being fat-shamed by bullies

An Erskine woman was left fighting for her life after she was tormented by fat-shaming bullies has now become an ultra-marathon runner.

Heather Reid has told how she was hospitalised more than 50 times after she self-harmed to escape from years of cruel verbal abuse.

The 23-year-old has now set herself the challenge of running 250km across Tanzania in an epic five-day race to raise awareness and help those attacked by bullies, reports the Record.

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Heather started being targetted at a young age when her peers would play cruel tricks on her at school and tease her.

She said: "It all started as soon as I went to primary school. Kids teased me and no one wanted to play with me.

"I was always called fat and mocked for my appearance. I didn't really have any friends so I used to hide in the toilets during break and lunch. As the years went on it started getting vicious. I was getting called some nasty names as well as having cruel pranks played on me.

"By the time I was leaving primary school I was at breaking point. I was so young but I remember telling my mum I didn't want to be alive anymore."

When she left for high school the bullying escalated as she started to receive hateful comments on social media.

Heather said: "My phone was going constantly. I would wake up in the morning and I'd get hate messages. I'd get them all day at school and even when I went home.

"I couldn't get away from it. Other kids were telling me on a daily basis that I should have been aborted.

"As a kid, you start to believe that when you're hearing it all the time. My head became a very dark place and I made multiple attempts to end it all."

One of Heather's suicide attempts almost claimed her life when she was just 16-years-old.

She added: "I don't remember much except waking up in the hospital a couple days later. I'd come really close to dying. Doctors had to resuscitate me and I know my parents were fully prepared to lose me that night."

When Heather saw the impact the attempt had on her family, she decided to turn her life around. Her older sister suggested that she should take up running and since then she has never looked back.

Heather said: "I felt like I'd found my purpose in life from the very first training session. I'd constantly been bullied for my weight but then it began falling off me.

"For once in my life, I started to feel good about myself and I was surrounded by positive and supportive people."

The 23-year-old soon found herself training for hours every day.

After encouragement from a friend, she decided to sign up for her first marathon and before she knew it, she was completing ultra-marathon races and took part in nine events last year.

On June 12 she will take on the UltraX Tanzania multi-stage marathon to raise money for the Kidscape Campaign For Children's Safety.

She said: "The charity does amazing work in schools in the UK and educating on bullying. I'm a firm believer that parents and teachers need to be educated in how to deal with bullying.

"Kids don't realise how much their words can have an impact and it's leading to deaths every single day.

"Bullying affects people for the rest of their lives and it still affects me to this day.

"But if I can survive what I went through my whole life then I can survive this race."

Donate to Heather's JustGiving page here.


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