To celebrate his 50th birthday and over 12 years of sobriety, Adam came up with the idea to run half mile loops from dusk to dawn at a local park in Washington state. For added motivation, he set up a fundraising page for Still I Run, and brought in an impressive $1,350 to help support our programs.
Adam discovered Still I Run through an online search and our mission really connected with him. Since he began running in his 40s, lacing up his shoes and putting in miles has been a big part of his life. Adam has run all sorts of distances including marathons and ultras. He and his wife share a passion for running, and they even had a running-themed wedding where guests could run an 8k.
Running helps Adam clear his head and manage feelings of anxiety and depression. As he put it, “While there’s no single answer for everyone, exercise, movement, and getting outside are always helpful.” He’s a strong believer in the benefits of running for mental health, and he was excited to learn that Still I Run is working to spread that message.
A Different Kind of Race
Although Adam’s put in plenty of miles, something about his plan to run half mile loops seemed daunting. Adam’s least favorite races were ones where the course circled around forcing him to retrace his steps. When you’re running loops, it can get tough to quiet the voice in your head that tells you to stop since there’s always an exit in sight.
Normally a competitive runner at heart, Adam approached his birthday run differently. He didn’t set any strict goals other than possibly hitting 50 loops (he ended up doing over 100!). His only preparation was to let friends and family know what he was doing, share his Still I Run fundraising page, and pack a makeshift “aid station” that consisted of a wagon filled with water and supplies.
Connecting with the Community
What began on a whim to do something fun and maybe a bit silly for his birthday turned into a beautiful day of connection and community. Adam started running around 5:00 am, and about an hour later, another runner showed up at the park. He told her he was attempting 50 loops for his 50th birthday. She laughed and said she’d have to run more loops than that to mark her age. The two ran on high-fiving as they passed each other.
Later in the morning, Adam’s mother brought birthday balloons to decorate his wagon. His dad came by to encourage him and walked with him for several loops. This meant a lot to Adam since his dad has health issues that make it difficult for him to exercise. They walked and talked together taking breaks whenever his dad needed one. Adam’s wife and daughter also stopped by to lend their support with a birthday doughnut.
In the afternoon, Adam was surprised to see fire trucks and dump trucks pulling up. There was a family event happening and soon waves of children and their parents flooded the park. This made the day an even bigger celebration with people coming over to check out the birthday balloons and cheer Adam on.
The park was full of energy and a sense of togetherness—a feeling that Adam, like many of us, had sorely missed during the pandemic. Something as simple as running small loops while others gathered to enjoy the day felt like bliss. Adam mentioned, “It was a reflection of the best way to live life—unplug, take it in, enjoy the moment, and be with family and friends.”
Adam is grateful for the day and everyone who donated to Still I Run. He didn’t expect to raise so much money especially since he threw it all together quickly. And we’re thankful for Adam! The $1,350 he raised will go a long way to helping us continue our work raising awareness about the benefits of running for mental health, reducing the stigma around mental health, and assisting others as they start their running journey.
Did you know you can join Team Still I Run as well? It's designed to be a choose-your-own-event type of fundraiser where you can train for whatever race you like and raise money for Still I Run at the same time. It's a great way to fundraise and run for your own mental health. More details on Team Still I Run can be found here.