After losing his mother and older brother to undiagnosed heart conditions within six months, Jared Scott declared he “wouldn’t stop” for a full year.
At the beginning of 2021, the 33-year-old set himself a mission to take on a series of limit-testing fitness challenges to raise money for charity in honour of Sue, 57, and Sam, 36.
Now twelve months on, after losing toenails and suffering bruised ribs, the Aberdeen resident has raked in almost £5,000 in donations for the British Heart Foundation.
More than three million steps
Since February 2021, Jared has clocked 3,514,972 steps – and doesn’t “regret a single one”.
In July he completed the National Three Peaks Challenge – scaling Scotland, England and Wales’ highest summits – in under 19 hours.
In September, he went wild swimming every day and in October he committed to dodging all processed foods while training for his first ever marathon – which he managed nonstop in December.
And for the final month, Jared dedicated his time to doing one physical activity a day, calling it the “greatest hits” of the yearlong challenge.
‘I know how proud they’d be’
Since starting the extraordinary feat, the Aberdeenshire Council officer says he’s learned to accept the curveballs and obstacles life can throw at you.
Jared contemplated the advice he’d have given to his past self during the last weeks before coming to the end of his challenge.
“It’s that you can’t control what is going to happen,” he said.
“Something bad is going to happen in everyone’s lives. It’s an inevitability and it’s a part of being human.
“It’s going to be horrible, but it doesn’t mean that it has to be horrible forever.
“And we all have a choice how we respond to that, what we want to do and how to remember the people.
“What always carried me was I know how proud my mum and my brother would have been if they could have watched me over this last year.”
Rising up to unexpected challenges
Of course, Jared’s mission was hit with a range of setbacks throughout the year.
He says July’s mountaineering challenge was his “biggest undertaking” of the year – and the one he’ll remember most.
For some, the 18 hours spent behind the wheel driving to each peak would be challenging enough.
There were times his activities took a physical toll on him as well.
“I was getting to a point where I would wake up in the middle of the night because my legs were just sore. I’d hurt myself a little bit with the training,” he said.
And on one occasion, he ended up with bruised ribs when a child ran into him mid-marathon.
Getting others involved
Keeping in the spirit of raising awareness of getting active, Jared decided to push himself out of his comfort zone.
He added: “I’m not scared of going up a Munro, or the three peaks. I’ve always been comfortable doing mountain climbing.
“And I was getting a lot of messages from people saying they would have loved to have joined me going up Bennachie, but they thought they wouldn’t be keeping up.
“So, I wanted to do a challenge where I could encourage people to join me – and to do something I’m a little scared of. I don’t mess with water.”
For one of his tasks, Jared issued a plea on social media and found willing recruits to help him try out wild swimming every day in September.
“My whole message has always been to just get out there and do something,” he said.
“If you’re struggling with your grief, if you’re a bit worried about your health, just start with something small.
“Wild swimming sounds like it’s something big, but at the same time it is something that’s very small. Anyone can do it.
“And it was really nice to be able to meet with people and be able to talk about that, and to encourage people to take those steps.”
‘The first step is always the hardest’
Jared, who is originally from Cumbria, says it’s never too late to start thinking about a healthier lifestyle.
He added: “I think everyone wishes they were a little bit healthier, a little bit fitter, or able to do that little bit more.
“But it doesn’t change unless you do something about it. And it can really just be as such a simple thing as reaching out to a friend, going for a walk.
“It’s tough to reach out. It’s the hardest thing in the world to reach out to a friend or the family or even to strangers on the internet to arrange these sorts of things.
“But that first step is always the hardest. Once you’ve done that first step, everything else is so much easier.”
And he should know, he’s taken nearly 3.6million of them.
To find out more about Jared, and his fundraising efforts follow him on social media.