iRun: Jacob, tell us about your quest.
A) We’re doing a campaign called Run to Wellness. I’ll run 10 half marathons in 10 Canadian cities over the span of a month in support of Mental Health awareness and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). I’m someone who lives with depression and anxiety and was in a bad place last year but over a year now, I’ve found that running was something that could keep my mental health in check and give me balance—at first accomplishing small feats and now taking on a huge physical challenge.
iRun: And how much money do you think you will raise?
A) We already raised $8,000 to cover the project cost and now we kicked things off, we ran the first stop of the journey in Toronto and flew to Vancouver yesterday and are excited to get it going tomorrow. All of our fundraising now, from social media to the partnerships we’re fostering to the media we’re producing, is directed at raising money for CAMH, but we don’t want to focus solely on the numbers—we want to change the narrative around mental health. We want to connect with people who are uncomfortable talking about mental health in an uplifting and positive way.
iRun: Tell me about your running.
A) Half marathons are something I’ve done several of. I very rarely compete in actual races, it’s really the community around running that I enjoy. I’ve never done ten of them in a month, though, so we’re going to see how that goes.
iRun: Have you always run?
A) I was never a runner before I started using it as my main strategy with dealing with my mental health. I drew from not being able to do a 5K to running a half marathon in the span of a little over a year and it’s so inspiring. I just turned 26.
iRun: How is the Westin involved?
A) They came on early in the campaign and from the start have been an outstanding partner and not only in providing accommodation, but are big time advocates for mental and physical health and their run concierge program is great — it gets guests from the hotel and community out running.
iRun: What is the run concierge program?
A) Something they do at their properties around the world. It’s an opportunity for guests to borrow shoes and get run maps and run with a special “run concierge” and keep up their routine on the road and see the city from a different perspective. Guests love it.
iRun: Where are you going to be running half marathons?
A) We started in Toronto, then Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal, Niagara Falls and Kitchener Waterloo, my home town.
iRun: Jacob, lastly, what words of inspiration would you like to share with the running community?
A) It can be difficult to make the decision to lace up your shoes, but it’s something that’s saved my life and made it better all around.