As a young person, I was put in art classes, sport camps, and I even had a run coach. If I started something, I had to finish it. If I played a sport, I had to practice. As I navigated my way through my childhood, it quickly became obvious the sport I was going to pursue. Running became the focus; I was tall, lanky and was already fearless in competition. I worked hard each and every day and with the help of my amazing mom and my coaches I was becoming “one to watch”.
Fast-forward to high school and things went sideways really fast. I was on the track team and had a really great coach. My school didn’t have a cross-country team, so I trained solo for one season. Running was the only thing that was helping me stay afloat during the years that would become my darkest moments. I started to drink more and by more I mean a lot. I was regularly ditching class and ditching practice. I was falling in and out of depression and anorexia was taking over my life. It was a spiral that I look back on now and wonder how I made it out alive. I quit everything and was slowly losing more and more of myself and became running girl interrupted.
It was many hard years before I started to find myself again. I even remember the day I decided to start running again. After only a few years of blowing all the chances I could have had, it was running that would bring me back. My entire life is now running. I work in the running world, I compete in the running world and I’ve been a mentor to so many young girls. What I find scary is that what I experienced in my youth, still exists today with the new youth. However there are some changes that have taken place from then to now. Mental health awareness is far more wide spread than ever before. The stigma of suffering from depression, eating disorders and even more severe illness is becoming a thing of the past.To register for @runforwomen, visit www.runforwomen.ca *USE code “HEAL” for $5 off for 5K/10K in Toronto or Oakville.
Thanks to programs like Run for It, made possible through a partnership between Shoppers Drug Mart, The Running Room, local mental health charities, schools and police departments, young women sign up to meet twice a week to train for a 5km and to learn about mental health illnesses and strategies to deal with them. Most importantly they learn about fighting the stigma attached to mental illness and the power of exercise in managing mental and physical health.
When over 3 million Canadian youth between 12 to 19 years of are at high risk of developing depression, it’s vital we have programs like Run for It available to our youth. The fact that one in eight women are twice as likely to develop depression at some point in their lives, means parents, the community and female role models need to be even more committed to getting our youth involved in their own health.
GIVEAWAY: I have two race registrations to giveaway before June 10th. Head over to my Instagram @michelletherunner to learn more about how you can win!
To find out more, visit runforitprogram.ca – To register for the run, visit runforwomen.ca *Using the code “HEAL” you can get $5 off your registration for either the 5K or 10K run in Toronto or Oakville.
In 2017, the Shoppers Drug Mart Run for Women will be taking place in the following cities: •Edmonton – May 27: Lois Hole Hospital for Women
•Oakville – May 27: Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital
•Quebec City – May 28: CERVO Foundation
•Regina – June 3: Family Service Regina
•Montreal – June 4: The Montreal General Hospital Foundation
•London – June 10: London Health Sciences Foundation
•Toronto – June 10: Women’s College Hospital
•Calgary – June 11: Calgary Health Trust
•St. John's – June 25: Stella’s Circle