Melissa Snaddon is running 1,000K this year to raise $1000 for Team Unbreakable because she believes in the cause of helping youth and understands the benefit of physical health for mental health. If you would like to donate to her fund-raising, here is her personal site to make a donation.
In fact, earlier in her life Melissa says a program like ours could have been a benefit for her. “As I look back at my youth and how I felt, I know now that I was dealing with a mental health issue but back then I didn’t. If the foundation for a strong mind and good mental health is establish in these earlier years, then in the years that follow people would be better equipped to deal with challenges, set-backs and ultimately the stresses of life. It’s about creating that foundation early on, and building upon it throughout your life.”
Melissa hasn’t been running seriously for too long and is cautious about overdoing her training which is when injuries can occur. “I attempted to train in 2010for a run in support of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society but I had to stop when I was told that I had tendentious in my knees. I pushed through until the pain became too much. In my younger years, elementary and middle school, I was very active and into running but at that time it was 100 m races and hurdles!”
Running 1000 kilometres can be both physically and mentally challenging, she says. But given that she is running for a cause like Team Unbreakable, “it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up!” So how does she plan to do this? “It is something that you need to work at and stay committed to while ensuring that you are taking care of your body, which is something that I really need to focus on to avoid injury. I ran approximately 500 KM last year and working my way up to 1000 KM will be such a great accomplishment as a runner and really just the beginning of what I hope to achieve through running. In addition to building up my strength, endurance and physical health, it will help me build my confidence.
The plan is to run approximately 100 KM a month, which would mean that she will hit 1000 KM in October, 2019. “I’m currently pacing less than this at the moment due to the unfortunate weather we’ve been having so I will need to make up the kilometres in the coming months,” she says. “I would say that my goal event would be the Ottawa 10K, which takes place at the end of May. I ran the 5K in 2017 and the 10K in 2018. I’ve also been contemplating running the Scotiabank Half Marathon in October, which would be an incredible accomplishment however I want to make sure that I am ready before I commit.”
Having the right cause to support, helps Melissa with her motivation. There has been a lot more focus on mental health and reducing stigma, which is absolutely incredible, but the focus seems to be more so on adults. You don’t see or hear as much about youth mental health and I think that needs to change. The earlier years are when people are trying to find themselves, learn about who they are, what they like, and where they want to go so having a strong mindset, being able to recognize when you are dealing with something, being able to accept that it is okay and normal to feel sad or different at times and most importantly knowing when to ask for help is so important in those years, Melissa says.
If the foundation for a strong mind and good mental health is establish in these earlier years, then in the years that follow people would be better equipped to deal with challenges, set-backs and ultimately the stresses of life. Physical exercise, specifically running brought me out of some dark times over the last few years and being a part of a cause, a part of a team that is trying to bring running or physical activity into the lives of the youth of tomorrow, today, then I want to be a part of that, she says.
“Running for me is an outlet that allows me to process what is going on in my life and some days it allows me to simply be free and forget about the things in my life that are stressful or negative. It is just me, and my feet hitting the ground propelling me forward. There is no better feeling!”