Monday, April 23, 2012

A Call To Action For Our Running Community

We, at Runner’s Mark, are supporting a couple of charities this year and are sharing with you our reasons for choosing them.  We hope that among the many worthy causes that you can support that you will choose one of them, the first is profiled below.

CameronHelps' Team UNBREAKABLE for teen suicide prevention.  There are no more important members of our community than our young people.  They represent our potential, unrealized opportunity, the constant hope for our future.  And yet at a point when everything should be possible, more than 7 of our teens in our community could not see that possibility this year and took their own lives.  This devastating action was also taken in 2005 by Cameron, the 19 year old son of one of our running community members, David Harris (see Cameron Helps History).  Dave’s decision was to take the grief that this tragic event inevitably produced, in order to start an initiative to save our teenagers, one at a time.  CameronHelps is that initiative, developed to improve our awareness of teenage suicide and depression and to provide support for our teens.

Some statistics that you should know about teenage depression and suicide include:

  • 2nd leading cause of youth death
  • 1 in 5 youth suffer from mental illness.
  • 80% of suicidal youth suffer from depression which is a treatable mental illness
So why should you as a runner support this initiative?  CameronHelps has started the Team UNBREAKABLE Teen Run Group.  The project helps teens with mental health issues by teaching them how running improves mental health as they embark on a run program.  McMaster University has started a clinical research study, with CameronHelps partners St. Joseph's Hospital in Hamilton, to help to quantify how much running improves mental health and to report the results in scientific literature. 

We need your help!  Here’s what you can do:

1.      Register and participate in the 4th annual CameronHelps Team Unbreakable Father’s Day 5k Run/Walk for Teen Suicide Prevention.  With technical race shirts, finisher's medals and post run breakfast this is shaping up to be the best yet!

Date:    Sunday June 17, 2012
Location:  Beautiful Port Credit, Ontario
Registration: $35.00

2.      Consider running and fundraising as part of CameronHelps' Team UNBREAKABLE for the Mississauga Marathon Race Weekend May 5 & 6, 2012.  Come and run your chosen distance at no cost to you!

See Mississauga Marathon for race weekend details.

The benefits of being a Team UNBREAKABLE runner:

·         Free registration or a refund of your entry fee if you have already registered.
·         A great limited edition Team UNBREAKABLE technical shirt.
·         Thousands of adoring fans.

To become part of Team UNBREAKABLE email John at

3.      If you are unable to race on May 5 & 6 consider sponsoring CameronHelps' founder Dave Harris as he runs his 8th Mississauga Marathon (see Pledge Form)
Please enter the amount you wish to pledge next to CameronHelps on the list of participating charities

4.      Register and participate in the inaugural Runner's Mark Team UNBREAKABLE Ribfest Run.  The Hero's Day celebration at Toronto Ribfest will feature a 5k & 10k race along scenic Etobicoke Creek and a First Responders challenge on the notorious Centennial Park Hill.

Date:    Monday July 2, 2012
Location:  Mississauga Centennial Park
Information can be found at: Runner's Mark Team UNBREAKABLE Rib Run 

5.      Please forward this message to any runners you feel may be interested in joining Team UNBREAKABLE or supporting these initiatives. 

The money raised will be used to support the teen run program in hospitals, high schools and community organizations in Peel Region.  We’ll keep you posted on the total as it grows. 

As runners, we are a tremendously privileged group who enjoy the blessings of running.  Let us also take the time to enjoy those blessings, remembering those young people among us who can benefit from our help.  Let’s stand with Dave Harris and Team UNBREAKABLE.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Blessing of Running

I’ve been told that if you want to stop running, open a running store. Unfortunately I didn’t hear that until after we started down this road.

I can attest to the fact that this venture, to “motivate, support and supply” my running community, has been an interesting challenge that at times has made me forget the very reason that I wanted to start the venture. I’m in the habit of going the distance preparing for big events, and I think here of the mileage that I put in last year preparing for my first marathon. So when I started preparing for the launch of this new business, I thought that I could easily draw on the ‘muscle memory’ habits of my marathon preparation. But now when I reflect back and compare marathon training to the mileage that I put in over the last few months as we prepared to launch this company, the recent mileage getting the business going could draw on only a relatively small fraction of what I thought had become ingrained habits preparing for a marathon.

What changed? The sage manager of our Runner’s Mark store, Wendy O’Neill, strongly suggested to me that running has the effect of improving energy, clarity of thought and ultimately efficiency. Was she suggesting that I wasn’t efficient? Did she think that I was diverting time and energy to the business that could have been spent running? That I would profit from spending more time participating in my favourite activity and less worrying about possible business profits?

So I gradually became impatient with the thought that I could do better. But, sad to relate, I missed the first two legs of the local triple crown! These are three races of increasing distance run from early March to early May. The races, the Chilly Half Marathon of March 4, the 30k Around the Bay in Hamilton run 3 weeks later, and the Mississauga Marathon to be run May 6, together represent a challenge that I was sure that I would be routinely stepping up to. Cheering from the sidelines (a position that I had never imagined myself in), I watched my wife run the Chilly Half. I am proud of her accomplishment. But for me, had it come to this? On the sidelines? The Around the Bay was even worse. I wasn’t in Hamilton in time for the start of the race, and trying to get close to the finish line in order to cheer for my fellow runners proved impossible. I finally gave up and went home before cheering for a single athlete, without even having been on the sidelines.

This situation arose from my inability to find the time to continue to do the very thing for which I started this venture. Running is a wonderful activity that manages mood, reduces stress, elevates energy, helps to manage weight, improves heart health and, etc. So I slowly revised my schedule to including my favourite activity, running. Miraculously, I refound the time to run, and also to enjoy the craziness that must be natural in starting a new company.

Perhaps there is no better way to realize the benefits of running than by losing the opportunity. In a strange way, it was a blessing for me. I love running, and I’m proud to be able to share this love with fellow runners and soon-to-be runners. We as runners all share an excellent activity … and we should all remember to count the benefits, and the blessings. If you feel inclined, please share with us all the great things that running has delivered for you. I promise, we all want to know!

Carl Worrell
Proud Owner, Runner’s Mark