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'End the stigma': Supporting mental health at Strong Minds run

Seventh annual Run for Change invited participants for a 5-km race along the boardwalk and Hub Trail

More than 100 runners of all ages came together at the Machine Shop this morning to take part in the 7th annual Run for Change.

Hosted by Strong Minds, this year’s festivities kicked off shortly before 10 a.m. with a warm up led by members of the Sault College Fitness and Health Promotion program.

At the top of the hour, runners began the five-kilometre trek around the Canal District and boardwalk. A light breeze and some sunshine made for ideal conditions throughout.

Eight years ago, Strong Minds CEO Amanda Lambert felt there was a demand for a mental health-dedicated run in Sault Ste. Marie.

Now with seven runs under her belt, Lambert is thrilled to see how far Run for Change has come.

“There were tons of runs and walks for other illnesses and diseases, but I realized there was no event that supported mental health and addictions,” she said. “It’s really important because this is a movement to raise awareness to end the stigma.”

“Everyone is impacted by mental health to some capacity, and it’s really important we’re gentle and compassionate,” she added. “When we have that awareness, it goes a really long way.”

Several weeks ago, Lambert lost her dad Tim – a long-time Algoma Steel employee who worked there for 45 years.

The plant had upwards of 30 runners today and was a sponsor for the event.

“I remember going to tell my dad about that and he was just so proud,” Lambert said. “This is the first Run for Change he’s missing, but I’m really glad I got to have that experience with him.”

To nobody’s surprise, last year’s winner and recent Boston Marathon participant Andy Haidar was the first to cross the finish line this morning.

He recorded an impressive personal best time of 16 minutes and 30 seconds.

Proceeds raised from this year’s Run for Change will be donated to a number of local mental health initiatives.

Strong Minds will also cover the cost of gym memberships for members of the community seeking assistance in pursuing fitness goals

Following the run, the massage therapy program at CTS Canadian Career College provided free massages to participants.

Other local organizations helping make Saturday’s event possible included the Alzheimer’s Society, Nogdawindamin Family and Community Services, Batchewana Health Centre, Garden River’s Restorative Justice Program, Croation Corner, Thrive Tours, PUC Services, and USW Local 2724.

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Alex Flood

About the Author: Alex Flood

Alex is a recent graduate from the College of Sports Media where he discovered his passion for reporting and broadcasting
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