WALKER, Mich. (WOOD) — On this sun-soaked Saturday, hundreds of people hit the pavement at Millennium Park in Walker to run for ‘the one.’
“Nationally, one in five people will have a mental illness this year in the United States – most of them are going to go untreated,” Hope Network President and CEO Phil Weaver told 24 Hour News 8.
The goal of the 1 in 5 Marathon Relay is to change that. Saturday marked the second year Hope Network has put on the unique race.
For many people taking part — like Tina Stewart — the race is personal. Stewart was diagnosed with depression nearly a decade ago.
“I was in the deep, dark part of it. And actually, that’s what brought me to running,” she told 24 Hour News 8 at the race.
Now, she’s running for not only herself — but for her kids too. Her oldest son and youngest daughter have both been diagnosed with anxiety and depression.
“An event like this, to bring people together and show that support for one another, is huge,” Stewart said.
And that’s the main goal — to show support for those with developmental disabilities, or people suffering from mental illness — and to combat the stigma against it.
Friends, family, police officers and veterans took part in the marathon relay. Even Lt. Gov. Brian Calley was there to run a leg of the race.
“It’s important for us to really speak out and create the type of environment where people can be a part of the community too,” Calley said afterwards.
Five-person teams covered 26.2 miles — a full marathon. The first four teammates ran five miles. The last runner raced 6.2 miles — symbolizing the one in five facing a mental illness and the added challenge it brings.
All proceeds from the race go to support Hope Network’s mental health programming.