Since becoming a charity, State of Mind Sport has been privileged and humbled by the fundraising efforts of our supporters. So we thought we would start a series of articles, here on the website, where we can acknowledge and thank our fundraising heroes and hear their amazing stories.

The first of these heroes, is Antony Keyworth from Hull, who recently completed the awesome Tough Guy challenge to raise funds for State of Mind. Here’s Antony’s story:


Antony, tell me why you wanted to raise funds for State of Mind?

I wanted to raise funds for State of Mind after attending the Hull FC v Wigan match, which coincided with the SoM round last year. At that time I was already undergoing private CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), generously provided by my employer, after confiding in a colleague that I was in a dark place.

Only a handful of very trusted people were aware of my circumstances, and it had initially taken months to raise my feelings to my wife who has been amazing throughout. I had left my coaching position at East Hull youth level of 3 years, and gave alternative reasons for my leaving.
Seeing the State of Mind presence at the match gave me the courage to confide in Steve Crooks, someone who has been influential throughout my rugby league career at East Hull (Mysons) youth, Hull FC Academy and East Hull open age. Steve still works for Hull FC and is the Chairman of the East Hull youth set up.
Confiding in Steve opened up an entirely new and expansive support network which has been amazing and, without exaggeration, life saving. I am due to be back coaching again soon, with Steve at U8s, none of which would have been possible had it not been for the State of Mind trigger. The trigger at that match, of knowing that you are not alone, gave me immense courage to speak out to someone who I respect immensely, yet had avoided due to the shame I felt of what I had become. So ultimately, I wanted to give back, give something to help others in the situation that I have been in.


What’s your history with the Tough Guy event and what made you want to fundraise through that particular challenge?

Tough Guy was on my list for years, after seeing it on Transworld sport years ago. I first entered in 2006, now I have completed 11 winter and 8 summer races. In addition to SAS Fan Dance Winter, Paras 10 and Paras P Company, Royal Marine Commando Challenge (6th place finish), London Marathon (5 times – pb 2:56).
CBT has shown that much of my participation in these events has been to prove self worth and self affirmation, along with training being a punishment / negative channel rather than enjoyment that most others are lucky to experience.
Injuries over the past few years have exposed these issues during my CBT and I wanted to sign off from Tough Guy by enjoying the race, plodding as opposed to having to prove my worth to myself and to raise funds and awareness for State of Mind.
I closed many chapters when I crossed the finish line this year.


What does Tough Guy involve?

Tough Guy is the original extreme assault course, set in Winter to test 5500 entrants this year. Based in Wolverhampton for 30 years, over 40 nationalities represented this year. 10 miles of brutal obstacles, freezing cold water, electrocution as well as the natural elements of the Winter weather. Many dropping out due to hypothermia.

You were in the Front Squad this year – what does that mean?
Front Squad can be accessed in two ways. Complete 10 events or pay £150 on top of your entry fee. Mine was earned.

How physically and mentally demanding is Tough Guy – and can you get away with one type of fitness and not the other?

Mentally very tough. Also extremely physically tough. The mental toughness kicks in halfway round when you start to hit the deeper water. Physically your body goes into survival mode, the mental toughness is vital, if you stop, you significantly increase the onset of rapid hypothermia and get pulled out, knowing that I had many up front sponsors helps but also gave added pressure to finish. The smell of the doughnut van kept me going!

Can you give us an idea of what your training looks like for an event like Tough Guy?

Ideally I would have ran much more frequently but I tore my soleus muscle two years ago and it’s very temperamental, so running had to be kept to a minimum. I’m no longer able to run on consecutive days.
All round fitness is beneficial, upper body and core are used immensely. The good road runners tend to avoid

events like this. I train with hill intervals as you are never running long stretches without hitting obstacles.


How did your fundraising go?

Fundraising has gone ridiculously well. My Justgiving page defaulted to £1000, I would have been happy to raise £500, as State of Mind is not one of the better known charities. At the time of writing, I am currently at around £1700 when all pledges are paid.

Did wearing the State of Mind t-shirt help raise awareness of the charity on the day?

Wearing the State of Mind t-shirt was inspirational and will have undoubtedly raised awareness. All my photos are on Facebook, and I sent them to the Hull Daily Mail who ran an article on the challenge which definitely helped bump up the pledges.
My Facebook profile is me in the State of Mind t-shirt photo from the Tough Guy weekend, so people are more familiar with the charity.

Would you recommend events like Tough Guy to other people – and why?!

Tough Guy is amazing and must be experienced to know why people participate. It has closed many negatives in my life and given me some amazing moments to reflect upon. Unfortunately this year was documented as being the last one ever, however, after seeing 5500 people taking part, I believe that the business will be sold on. Maybe see you there??


All of us at State of Mind Sport would like to congratulate and thank Antony for his amazing efforts – and his shorts!

If you have fundraised for State of Mind Sport, or know somebody that has, then we would love to hear from you and share your story. Please email