Approximately 152 people rolled out of bed early Sunday morning to participate in the first annual DU283 Duathlon at the Machine Shop.
This 283km run, bike, run event along the waterfront was to raise money for local children’s mental health efforts.
Event Organizer Sonny Spina, who was pleasantly surprised at the turnout, said they chose to raise money for this cause as it’s one that’s close to his heart, as he’s been the chair of the Algoma Family Services Foundation for the past three years.
“We really need to make an investment in (children’s mental health) in order to help our kids,” he told SaultOnline.
“And we know that we have a lot of kids in town who are struggling with these issues and we have a lot of services, but we need to get them into those services and we need to get them the assessments that they need to get into those services in a timely fashion so that we can provide really great intervention and mentorship for these kids to help them as they move forward to become future leaders in our community.”
Participants Aron Mohamadi and Jeff Luck are both avid runners who decided to lace up for Sunday’s event.
“Mental health is definitely an issue that is becoming bigger and more pressing,” Mohamadi said, talking about why this cause is important.
“You see it a lot at university and there’s untreated issues with people going to university and definitely struggling there, so if you can help identify those earlier, it’s definitely a good thing.”
Luck said he thinks running and getting exercise is a good way to help alleviate stress and depression.
“It’s healthy, it keeps you active, it’s good for your brain, it’s good for your body, it’s good for everything.” ‘
In addition to Sunday’s event, the Du283 team went into local schools and held duathlons at each one.
Spina said this was one of the ways they wanted to engage with students and the community and bring awareness to this event and children’s mental health.
“Our community is second to none when it comes down to supporting causes, especially when it’s something that they believe in,” he said.
“We know that our community recognizes the issues with children’s mental health, they recognize that it’s something that we need to talk about. For us to be able to provide the platform for people to be able to have that conversation is great.”