On May 27 myself and four other amazing women got together to run. We ran for ourselves. We ran for each other. We ran for mental health. The Hope Network One in Five Marathon Relay focused on and assisted in benefitting services for those currently battling mental illness.
(Megan, Tina, Me, Ashley, Debbie) Before the Run
Now many of you know that I myself suffer from severe depression and anxiety. Over 40 million individuals within the U.S alone will experience symptoms and episodes of mental illness. That is one in five Americans. With that, I am One in Five. This is also true of my four teammates who ran to support others who suffer as well.
The unique aspect of the One in Five Marathon Relay is the fact that it is not a true relay in the sense of what we know. There are five legs of the relay. The first four runners run 5 miles each, with the last runner running 6.2 miles. This runner represents the one in five. The biggest difference, however, is that there is no hand-off. Starting at 8am, the first runner leaves. At 8:15am, the second runner. Then every 15 minutes until all runners are on the course. All runners, running together, different paces, different abilities, some going 5 miles, some 6.2 miles. All of us representing some part of the statistic.
The day was beautiful, the course was beautiful, the cause was beautiful and the people were wonderful. The four other women on my team, Phoenix Rising, came together that morning before the race to “officially” meet. While some of us knew each other, we had all never been together until that day. Sporting our green (the color of mental health support) in various ways, and making our own “one in five” mark, we prepared. We would wear green bandanas, one of us wearing white. We would sport white star stickers on our faces, one of us wearing green stars. And our amazing connector, Sasha Wolff of Still I Run, made us all bracelets to represent our own words of strength.
The take-away from this day? We are all who we are. We are the one in five. We are unique. We are slow. We are fast. We are determined. We are women and moms. We are runners and Spartans. We are triathletes and marathoners. But what none of us are is our mental illness. Yes, it is a part of us, but together we are so much more!