Tackling The Mountain For Danni

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Erin Yarwood explores the role of exercise in mental health and discovers that nothing is more motivating than a good cause!

Mood and physical activity go hand-in-hand. Whether we exercise for keeping fit, or socially with friends, the fact is it makes us feel good. So when a good friend and client of mine, Sarah, asked me if I’d help motivate her with an upcoming mental health awareness event she is involved in, there was no way I was saying no.

So… I signed up for The King of the Mountain race! (eeeeeek! ) What was I thinking!?

I have run the race three times already so to be honest, I was pretty happy to just tick it off my list of things that I have accomplished and move on. No one needs to see my beetroot face again as I cross that finish line with crazy jelly legs.

But when Sarah asked me if I’d run it with her this year, there was no way I was going to let her down. Especially the reason behind her running.

Sarah will be running this year (her 3rd race) to fundraise for LIVIN’, a Gold Coast based charity set up to raise funds and awareness for Mental Health, especially supporting young people at risk.  Their motto being “it ain’t weak to speak”.

I believe the more we as a community can bring awareness to mental health and offer help and guidance to people who are struggling, the drastic outcomes will begin to improve.

Sadly, one year ago Sarah’s cousin Danni ended her life.  Danni was a vibrant, happy-go-lucky woman, who was always up for an adventure, climbing mountains being one of her faves. She was definitely someone you’d never think would have a worry in the world, let alone want to leave it.

Suicide is such a devastating and irreversible action, that more often than not could be prevented. We all really need to rally together and give help to anybody who is doing it tough and needing help.

Obviously if you are not in that situation yourself, it is hard to completely know when someone is struggling or even begin to imagine what some people are going through, or feeling on the inside.

The best and only thing we can really do is reach out, offer support and simply be there for one another.

Sadly, we are hearing stories like Danni’s all too often, and we need to band together and try to help prevent more cases like this from occurring.

Obviously I’m going to suggest exercise as one way of beating the blues and feeling better, as it really can help. While physical activity isn’t the only remedy, it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

Not only does exercise release endorphins, our ‘happy hormones’, but it also helps to give you confidence and can provide great social interaction too.

All of these things can help boost our emotions, lift our spirit and support us in feeling good about ourselves, and life in general.

Sarah remembers the last time she ran the race, about four years ago. Danni was on the sideline cheering her on. At the end of the race she mentioned to Sarah how she’d love to compete one year.

Along with many of her wild adventures, Danni always loved climbing Mount Cooroora. Sadly, Danni never got to run her race but I am sure she will be right beside Sarah, running it with her on 28 July.

The King of the Mountain is an annual event that takes place in Pomona and the whole town comes alive for the weekend, with so many fun things on offer. Apart from the big race itself there are markets, an antique fair, rides for the kids, a poets breakfast and live music.

If you would like to donate to the wonderful charity LIVIN’ and help support Sarah on her journey in honoring her cousins memory, then please follow this link: https://give.everydayhero.com/au/doin-it-for-danni-sarahs-kom-challenge

Sarah also has a fun ‘guess my time’ competition set up at E Fitness in Pomona, where she has some amazing prizes up for grabs, donated by many supportive local businesses.

Bets are $2 each or 3 for $5.
Or simply come along to the race and cheers us across the line.
Every dollar counts, and helps to make a difference.

We are definitely not competing to win the race. We are ‘doin’ it for Danni’.
To help raise awareness to mental illness and hopefully in turn help anyone else who may be struggling to know that you’re not alone, you are important and are worth every second of being here.


Don’t suffer in silence.

Please ask for help if you need it.

And “if in doubt, reach out”.



About the Author /


For over a decade, Erin has been putting people through their paces and encouraging them to be the best they can be, while keeping a healthy and active lifestyle – and having fun! She specialises in personal training and teaches a vast range of fitness classes out of E-Fitness – her vibrant, fun and welcoming personalised fitness studio in Cooroy where her one-year-old daughter, Aluna provides a welcome distraction.

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