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Running to Help Defeat the Stigma Around Mental Health

Chris Vetter was born and raised in Huntington, New York, which for those of you who aren’t

familiar, is located in Long Island. Chris spent time living in Manhattan and is now living in Port

Washington which is about 30-minutes from where he grew up.

Vetter’s running journey began at a young age. He was given an ultimatum by his mom to either

get a job or play a fall sport in high school. Vetter decided to participate in cross country since he had a friend who was on the team. He fell in love with running and made it a lifestyle, continuing to run as he got older. “I feel that running is the easiest way to stay in shape,” Vetter stated and contributed to how he has stuck with running. Even though there can be the assumption that running is a difficult form of exercise, once it becomes a habit and part of your routine, it gets easier and more enjoyable over time.

Vetter has never officially run a half marathon or marathon before. During COVID, he and his

friends did a virtual half-marathon with one another. While he hasn’t participated in an in-person half or full marathon, he has the mileage under his belt to do so. Training has caused Chris to adapt his plan, with certain restrictions such as moving during the training process and living in a town that provides physical obstacles such as hills. He’s had to make modifications to his training and is following the intermediate plan provided by Still I Run.

Running the TCS New York City Marathon

His reasons for running the TCS NYC Marathon are twofold: having never been to the marathon before, he went to cheer on friends for the first time in 2021 and was blown away by the atmosphere and positivity of the environment. The other reason? He specifically wanted to run for a mental health charity. When asked why, he said he wanted to help break the stigma.

“I think what’s really interesting is that I played sports my whole life, and I think there is a negative stigma around men talking about mental health because you’re considered ‘soft’ or weak, but it’s okay to not be okay.”

Being able to run the NYC marathon with Team Still I Run as a way to defeat the stigma is a huge motivator for him. He wants to do more though and eventually wants to coach high school sports and help male athletes feel open to having conversations about mental health. There are a tremendous amount of changes that youth go through during high school, and he wants to be able to check in with them and help them understand that it’s alright to have these conversations.

Running for Others

I asked Chris what reaching the finish line of the race was going to look like for him to conclude

our interview. “I’m probably going to be an emotional wreck when reaching the finish line. I’m

not really running it for myself. I know so many close family and friends, including myself that

have been affected by mental health,” he stated. “I hope that when I cross the finish line they will

be watching, and I’ll be able to talk to them about the process and why I’m doing what I’m doing.”

Chris left the conversation with some advice for first-time runners, saying “don’t give up and believe in yourself. You might be your biggest enemy, but you’re also your biggest fan. If you set your mind to that goal, you can steadily build towards it and achieve it if you focus your mentality on it.”

You can follow Chris’ journey on our Instagram and Facebook, as well as the Still I Run website

to show support for him and the Team Still I Run members in the upcoming 2022 NYC



We want to recognize and do a shoutout to the amazing businesses that have stepped up to sponsor our NYC team and runners! Please check them out!


By Kora Kelly

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