Support.

After overcoming my eating disorder, it was a further nine months before I actually told anyone about my experience and another two before I set up my Justgiving page and shared my story. 

However I have since been inundated with (literally) hundreds of supportive messages from friends, family, other runners and strangers alike. Here are a selection of the messages - I hope it offers encouragement to anyone else suffering from an eating disorder that as scary as it may seem to talk about what you are going through, there is so much support out there if you are willing to share your experience with others.

"You are such a beast! Respect."

"A really inspirational Man - keep up the great work Tom x"

"You're an admirable man Tom! I'm sending you the best of luck for the marathons, and the future. xx"

"Tom... Thank you... Amazing openness and honesty, so much respect for you from someone who knows that journey too"

"Tom we've been friends forever, you're a great guy and I know you will achieve your aspirations both personally and professionally, Really brave move! Proud to call you a friend. Xx"

"I admire your courage so much! You're really inspirational mate :)"

"Top man! it's take some serious balls to come out and speak up about such a thing! Good luck with the marathons!"

"We are very proud to call you our friend. xxx"

"Excellent cause, inspiring story - keep running :)"

"Just read your story - sorry you've been through something like that, but I want you to know how proud I am that you've confronted it and beaten it. We are all proud of you. Good luck!"

"I spend my life with people with illnesses that are horribly stigmatised, and it's everyday people opening up about these experiences publicly that slowly breaks that stigma down. So well done for being a part of it. xx"

"Hope to meet you soon! Good luck with your challenge for a great cause"

"Tom what you're doing is brilliant, keep going and can't wait to hear more!"

"I was shocked to hear the difficulties you went through. But really pleased you are recovering and really think you're brave. Well done and massive good luck you crazy thing xx"

"Well done for telling your story and good luck for the rest of your challenge"

"I am sure your story will help lots of people..total respect for speaking out..it's not easy on something so personal"

"I honestly had no idea what you were going through, but what you have achieved is incredible - I'm sure you'll have no problem doing the marathons!!"

"Tom, gutted to hear what you've been dealing with over the last few years. Well done for having the courage to tell people now you have overcome it, and you can make something good come out it. X"

"Fantastic Tom! Takes some courage to speak out. Huge respect. Good luck!"

"So proud of your honesty Tom X"

"Really touched by your story Tom. Thanks for putting yourself out there to raise awareness! All the best."

"Great story! We don't speak enough about male eating disorders. Well done on your great race times"

"Read your story and I am really inspired. Just been on your Facebook page, listened to your interview and donated. What your doing is truly amazing! Such respect for you. Good luck! X"

"So brave to share your story! Good luck with the races I'm sure you'll do amazing! X"

"Well done, Tom, you can do this thing!"

"Hey Tom - I listened to your interview on the radio and had no idea what you've been going through. Really happy to hear you are now better and dealing with it all in such a nice way. Really brave. Good luck with all of your marathons! X"

"Such a brave thing to do Tom, well done. Glad your on a brighter side of life. You will smash this! x"

"Hi Tom, just read your Guardian article. Really well written but above all so powerful. Good luck with everything!"

"Great article in the Guardian Tom! Brilliant that you are helping others - respect. We all have skeletons in our closets. Us boys are ridiculous about talking about them, so you are making a difference."

"Good luck and well done for finding the courage to talk about it. Glad you're on the mend xx"

"Well done, you are actually awesome for sharing your story. High 5 dude xx"

"Just wanted to say a massive congrats to what you've overcome and what you've achieved. Seriously inspiring. Keep up the good work mate! So brave of you, not only to overcome this but also share it."

"Your story is awesome and I think so many runners can relate to it."

"You are amazing!"

"I had no idea what you'd been through but I'm so so glad you've managed to pull through the other side. I battle with mental health issues and those things like, eating disorders I am imagine, can be tough to come to terms with and address. You're an inspiration though and hopefully you know how much everyone loves you and is behind you."

"Glad you've conquered your illness Tom. Good luck with your marathon challenge!"

"Thanks for sharing Tom, a very brave and courageous step in your ongoing recovery. I wish you every success on your journey."

"Best of luck Tom for your challenge and well done for raising the awareness associated with eating disorders. We'll both be looking forward to how you get on :-) X"

"Huge respect to you Tom for sharing your story on the radio. All the best to you for your continued recovery and for the challenge ahead."

"Mate congratulations, was a really good read! We are so glad of the awareness your story has brought about in a positive way and how you've dealt with something really personal. I'm really pleased that your story is having a positive impact and I'm sure it'll help people who suffer with these disorders! X"

"Tom we've been friends forever, you're a great guy and I know you will achieve your aspirations both personally and professionally, Really brave move! Proud to call you a friend. Xx"

"Massive respect to you, Tom. Good luck in your marathons and hope that you raise lots of money x"

"I just read your Guardian article! Proud of you bro."

"Congratulations on your positive strength. It looks to me like you've come along way. Keep up the determination  You are an inspiration to others. And if some random girl cannot see this then I hope you feel this! x"

"Well done on the article ... you are very brave to share!"

"I had no idea you had been through all of that. Well done for speaking out so honestly about it too!! I think you can read about this sort of thing all of the time and not think a lot about it, but when it is someone you've known forever it hits home a lot more. Xx"

"A very emotional read Tom. I'm glad you're recovered and running better than ever!"

"Powerful read Tom - you are a great person to follow in races and on Twitter!"

"I had no clue of the hard times you had. I think it's great how you've handled it so openly and progressively trying to help others with this. Wish you all the best with it."

"Inspiring story and a great cause. Well done!"

"An inspirational story like yours is getting the attention it deserves. And you tell it well."

"Tom you are a great guy & this is one of the elephants in the room in sport. Thanks for sharing Tom!"

"Hope your recovery continues. I am so impressed with your efforts for others with eating disorders - you are great. Keep fighting and as I'm sure your Mum has told you eat you tea!"

"What a marvelous article in today's Guardian and brave of you to contribute it.  Hopefully it will catch the eye of people with this condition and help them to get themselves back on the right track. Well done!"

"Just wanted to get in touch to say I read your Guardian blog and was in tears. You're a great inspiration to me."

"Well done Tom - this is such an important story!"

"Good Luck Tom, Well done for helping raise awareness for this illness and glad to hear you have beaten it!"

"Hi Tom, I just read about your experience I'm so sorry you had such a shit time... it's amazing how honest you are about it and I'm so pleased to hear that you're pushing through it and turning everything into a positive. Best of luck with the marathons!"

"Wonderful story! Good luck with the rest of your marathons."

"Bollocks of steel coming out with all of that Tom! Glad to hear you are on the recovery path now. I think to achieve what you have and still be honest with yourself and make that change shows great mental strength. I reckon there are lots of athletes in a similar position but are too afraid to admit it."

"Love you Tom! xx"

"Great that you have the strength to come out with this. We are all here to support you Tom x"

"Eye opening, important story - thank you for sharing Tom!"

"Applause for your honesty Tom, and good luck with your marathons!"

"Thanks for the honesty and inspiration - enjoy the journey!"

"Sorry to hear that you went through all that and on your own. Sorry you were not able to share the load. It's a good thing to raise awareness!"

"Well done for writing this and raising awareness and money for such a great cause. Will be keeping an eye on your success with the marathons xxx"

"Well done mate for being so open about it. Very brave but it's all part of helping you recover. Proud of you mate"

"This is a very worthwhile story to tell and brilliantly written too. Well done Tom!"

"Really admire your bravery in speaking up and sharing your experience mate, good luck with the marathons"

"Your honesty is very inspiring. All the best mate x"

"We all go through some bad times but it will make you a better person in the long run, I'm really pleased you’re able to be open about this now and I truly value your friendship. We've always supported each other over the years through ups and downs and will continue to do so....I'll even promise to run a few of these marathons with you! Proud of you mate"

"Good luck and well done on raising awareness of the the issue and sharing your story x"

"Well done for conquering the disorder, that was a battle in itself! I'm sure we all look forward to seeing you winning many more races and contesting for honours"

"What an inspiration you are Tom!"

"Tom, you're so brave for admitting all of this & hopefully you'll help other sufferers admit & get help. Well done you!!"

"Read this morning the piece in the guardian. I had no idea mate what you've been going through and have a lot of respect for talking about it so publicly and for beating it. x"

"Brilliant, honest article. Well done and, very brave! Tom you are inspirational."

"Well done Tom, great to get this in the open x"

"Very brave for being so honest - well done on everything you have achieved so far and best of luck for the challenge and the future - and well done on raising the profile for such a fantastic charity."

"Tom love you loads! Glad you're on on the recovery path now Tom. Thank you for sharing your story. Xx"

"Well done for tackling it head on and being so open. And for all your ridiculous running. Best of luck with the marathons x"

"Inspiring mate. X"

"Good for you for being so brave and sharing your experience! Wishing you all the best and loads of luck for the marathons! X"

"An emotional read. I think there are a lot out there suffering in silence. Well done!"

"Well done Tom! Hope it's a relief for you to have been honest about this. All the best for keeping up that recovery, and putting us all to shame with the continued running! x"

"Good luck with your Challenge Tom. I hope your story raises the awareness needed to help others too"

"Well done on the recovery Tom!"

"Well done Tom for bringing this into the open!"

"Hi Tom! Just wanted to drop you a message to say well done on your amazing recovery! Massive thank you to you for sharing your inspirational story!"

"Proud! Well done buddy x"

"Hey Tom, you don't know me (better get used to this now your story's live!) but your story is amazing!"

"Tom you are an inspiration! x"

"Amazing, inspiring read, Tom. Congratulations on your recovery."

"Hi Tom I saw your article on the fundraising that you are doing, that's a brilliant thing in itself, but I think that you battling to overcome bulimia is and also sharing your story is extremely brave. So congratulations!"

"Fantastic Tom you really are amazing. Best wishes x"

"What an inspiration - I am trying to do this alongside fighting off diabetes at the moment. Feels good to know I'm not alone."

"Thank you for your Guardian article - very brave to speak out but will raise awareness, especially among young men."

"I was really touched by your piece of writing. It's just upsetting that you went through that let alone by yourself. It's amazing the things you have achieved and you're going to help so many people with your donations. You should be really proud. Every day I go to work and I see people go through personal health struggles but just get on with it... But when you come across someone you know it can still be a shock. xxx"

"Amazing and very inspiring interview mate! x"

"Fantastic story. As someone who has suffered with eating disorders, I love to hear the happy endings."

"Good luck with the challenge partner. I have every faith that you will succeed with the challenges you face both on and off the roads and trails. Proud of your courage."

"It's great that you've shared your story. Hopefully it can help some people currently suffering. Nicely written piece by the way!"

"Well done Tom, I have got deep respect for your openness and strength. Really empowering for those still fighting to talk about it.  Wishing you so much luck and fun during the 150 days!"

"All the best mate! Amazing courage to face your demons and raise awareness for a fantastic supportive charity!"

"Awesome read! You are very brave, I have yet to share my story. Thanks for sharing!"

"TOOOOMMMM!! I’ve been thinking about you constantly today! I read the amazing  fundraising campaign and of course about your story last night and it seems to trigger an abundance of thoughts and emotions about life and friendship etc. The read was truly inspirational and courageous! X"

"Good luck Tom. Thanks for sharing your story. I think your very brave and I look on in awe of you and all your running adventures."

"Tom, I've no idea how hard it must have been to recover from your illness but I hope your success inspires others in same place."

"Tom I found your story compelling. Great you are back competing and healthy and sharing!"

"Really inspiring story on The Guardian today - good luck in all your marathons this year!"

"What a terrible experience it must have been Tom - Wishing you all the very best for the marathon challenge!"

"Inspirational story Tom! Well done x"

"Hey Tom. Just another message to add to the long list. Well done. Awesome article. I'm so pleased for you and the recognition you are getting for speaking up about such a sensitive and personal subject. I feel happy for you too because it shows you are not afraid of admitting who you became and in the process, understanding more about yourself now than you ever thought possible! Well done again! X"

"Good luck Tom and well done for telling your story!"

"I have just read your article on the Guardian website. I had no idea what you have been through. Just wanted to say huge respect and credit to you for writing the article. Really good read and takes big courage to open up about and share such things with the masses. Well done!"

"Thanks for being so brave to share your story!"

"How brave of you to share such a story. Well done for your amazing recovery. I hope that this message reaches all those that need it xx"

"Your story is inspirational. Good luck!"

"You don't really know me as I am a very average runner, but I have seen you out and about on several occasions and would never have dreamt of your past suffering. Good luck in your recovery"

"A very powerful article; I have seen you run and you are an inspiration, well done for your bravery and fantastic to see you recovering! I wish you well!"


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