A WOMAN ran 5km every day in 2017 in memory of a close schoolfriend who took his own life.

Helen Warwick, who lives in Horwich, completed the challenge to raise awareness of male mental health issues and male suicide.

She began just days after her old friend Russell Lewis took his own life on December 29, 2016.

The 43-year-old said: "He was the life and soul of the party and the last person you would expect to decide on the route he decided upon that day.

"But then he isn’t the only male who thinks that taking their own life is their only option so I made the decision to try and do something about it.

"My attempts would only be a drop in the ocean but even if they made a change to one person then that is one group of family and friends who get to keep that guy in their lives."

Ms Warwick, who is a member of Tri-Rivington, began on New Year's Day 2017 and has successfully managed to complete 5km every day, racking up a total of 1,825km for the year.

And on the final day of her challenge, she was joined by club members and family members of Mr Lewis.

The group, headed by Ms Warwick headed down to Horwich from Winter Hill and cheered for her at the end of the run.

Ms Warwick described male suicide as a 'massive problem' in the UK and said people with mental health issues can not always help themselves.

There are approximately 12 men taking their own lives every day and 76 per cent of suicides in the UK are men.

Ms Warwick said: "My work here is not done — I’ve raised some money for Calm which is a charity organisation that supports males with mental health issues and suicidal thoughts.

"I intend to keep on raising money for them to ensure that their service can remain."