Pembertonian will run 24 hour run for mental health awareness

Troy Knecht seeks to start a conversation about men’s mental health and suicide prevention with his Move Through Your Darkness initiative

Whether he’s running, walking or crawling, when April 2 rolls around, distance runner Troy Knecht will be hitting the streets and trails of Pemberton for 24 straight hours trying to raise awareness for men’s mental health and suicide prevention. .

The initiative he called Move Through Your Darkness is a personal endurance project that aims to combine two of Knecht’s passions: running and mental health awareness.

“I chose this name because it represents and symbolizes in a way the idea that many of us are going to have dark times in our lives, but I hope to show in a way that just by striving forward and putting one foot in front of the other and just staying in the fight, you will find the light again and you will get through the dark times, he said.

“So I thought I’d try to do something to change the script and get people talking, end the stigma and combine the two passions into one project, which excites me, but scares me a bit. It will be something I have never done before.

Men’s mental health and suicide prevention is an issue close to Knecht, who lost a family member to suicide, and he will run this race in his memory.

The plan is to start his run on the morning of Saturday April 2, and by finishing at the same time the next day, Knecht will stick to his mantra and literally move through the darkness into the light of a new day. .

“The whole thing is that, on Sunday morning, the sun will rise again. So even after the darkest nights, the sun still rises,” he said. “So I’m just trying to let people know that it’s okay not to be okay, and speaking up isn’t a weakness.”

Knecht realizes that we are in “strange times” at the moment and he is not looking for any monetary donations to charity. Instead, he just hopes it will be an opportunity for people to connect with each other, start a conversation about mental health, and hopefully share their own stories with him.

“What I hope will happen is that people will come in and get involved. Remotely, in person, whatever, whatever mode they want to do, for as long or as short as they think they can,” Knecht said. “But I hope people will get involved in person. I understand that there will be low points in my running, and you’d be surprised, maybe seeing people might be just what I need to re-energize and lift my spirits and get back on my feet and move forward again.

Although his route is not yet fully planned, Knecht said he plans to stick to a consistent loop that will have an aid station in the middle of the village where people can meet and join him if they want to. wish. People will also be able to follow and keep up to date with his progress throughout the day via his @troy_knecht Instagram account where he plans to post hourly progress videos.

In the future, Knecht hopes to make its Move Through Your Darkness initiative an annual event. And while it won’t always be a 24-hour race because he likes to challenge himself in different ways, the main goal of creating conversation and giving people a space to share their stories will always be at the center of any endurance project he chooses. to do next.

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