‘MONSTER-MARATHON MENTAL MILLION CHALLENGE’
As many of you will know (publicity-shy I am not and, in this matter, it’s just as well!), Ziv and I have set ourselves a challenge:
NAME OF CHALLENGE:
‘MONSTER-MARATHON MENTAL MILLION CHALLENGE’
WHAT IS THE CHALLENGE?
THE “HERZL HUNDRED”:
To run 100 miles (160km) on Herzl Street, Ra’anana* (less than half a mile long) in under 24 hours;
To be decided but probably December 2020.
To raise ‘A MENTAL MILLION’: a million shekels – or more, of course – for mental health research/support organisations,
to reduce suffering,
to raise awareness of depression and associated mental illnesses – so often, invisible mental illnesses, illness which we only realise people close to us are suffering from when it’s too late, when it has taken them from us.
As of 31 May 2020, we, my son, Ziv, with whom I am running, and I, we have not yet finalised the decision as to which organisations we’ll be supporting in the project, although we are, at the moment, talking to the staff teams of two organisations.
As a sufferer – debilitating clinical depression, anxiety disorder, panic attacks, OCD (‘Obsessive Compulsive Disorder’) – it is a cause close to my heart. These conditions almost killed me and life, even at the best of times, has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs.
Depression, still so misunderstood, it is a scourge that affects the lives of millions of people at any one time, made all the more destructive by the stigma which causes shame and embarrassment and, in many, many cases, that stigma kills.
My hope is that this project will raise awareness of depression and associated mental illnesses, that it will help to dispel ignorance and misunderstanding, that families, loved ones, friends, employers, work colleagues, teachers, school friends will, by virtue of this project, come to better understand what depression means, what it is, and that sufferers who feel alone will see that they are not and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
This project, the ‘Monster-Marathon Mental Million Challenge’, it will only succeed as a team effort:
I have already secured the services of a photographer, Herschel Gutman (see, on Facebook, ‘HERSCHEL GUTMAN PHOTOGRAPHY’), and a social media expert, Simon Gerstler, to whom Ziv and I are immensely grateful, and we’ll need to secure the services, donors of time, for input in other areas, eg physios, a website builder, perhaps a nutritionist/dietitian, perhaps a running coach (although the training is under way) and others.
Ziv and I, our max runs to date have been full-marathon distances, 42.2km / 26.2 miles). 16 June 2020 marks my 54thbirthday and Ziv and I will be running 54km on the day, our first ultramarathons – WAY TO SPEND THE DAY!!
I already run in my ‘impossible zone’, a place which, not long ago, I’d have considered it ‘impossible’ for me to enter. 6 years ago, I was overweight, suffering many depression episodes every year, I was engaging in no exercise whatsoever. I was barely functioning. I went on a diet, starting running (5 years ago), 300m (meters, not miles!) my ‘max’ (or so I thought), I cut out alcohol, I, in essence, changed my mindset, I changed my life.
I lost 28kg (29% of my total bodyweight). I’m now about 25kg down from my heaviest. I had to put a bit of weight back on – I was TOO thin and I really wasn’t eating enough!
A couple of years ago, I ran the Tel Aviv Half-Marathon, a staggering achievement for me at the time. Friends asked me if a full-marathon was next, to which I responded:
“I can’t run a full-marathon, I’m not that kind of runner, full-marathons are for different kinds of people…”
My first full-marathon was the Tel Aviv Marathon, a year after I ran the half, just months after my saying that I couldn’t do it.
That success, it was liberating, empowering, emboldening, it infused my whole being!
“Running changed my life.”
“My antidepressants don’t live my life for me, they ‘merely’ allow ME to live MY life, MYSELF.”
“My meds level the playing field but it’s up to me whether or not I want to ‘play’.”
My journey has given rise to the above quotes, it has brought me to the dawning of many realisations, it has given me not just clearer vision but, in some ways, it has given me my ‘sight’: the past now makes sense, I understand it, I feel the present and I can see the future, the way forward – health allowing…
My ‘purpose’ in life is to do what I can to ensure that when my time is up, I’ll have made a difference for good, that I’ll have done something, or some things, which will have made the world a better place, which will have improved the quality of other people’s lives, people whom I know, family, friends, and people whom I’ll never know. That is my raison d’être, it’s the raison d’être of all of us, and this project is a piece in the jigsaw that is my MO, my modus operandi.
If this ‘call out’ has captured your imagination and you have an expertise which might lend itself to the project, and you would like to donate your time and expertise, Ziv and I would love to hear from you:
see ‘LIFE’ category (I am going to get a new website up and running, one which is solely related to this project and my mental health blogging).
*We’ll be contacting the Mayor of Ra’anana to tell him about the project. Such are the logistics of the project that he may ‘veto’ our focusing the run on Herzl – more info to follow…