Get your runnin’ shoes on!


Miles for Mental Health Fun Run is right ‘round the corner!

By Cassandra Wehrhahn

Neepawa Banner & Press

Next week on Sunday, August 19, the second annual Miles for Mental Health Fun Run will be coming to the Flats in Neepawa. Miles for Mental Health aims to raise awareness of the connection between mental wellness and physical activity, and to use physical activity to help with mental health challenges.

Organizing Committee member Diane Martin commented on this year’s preparations, stating that they are “going very well”.

“The committee has expanded by two people this year [Tammy Dudenhoffer and Sherri Hollier],” said Martin. “That has lightened the load for the rest of us, as well as provided fresh ideas and new insight.”

Last year, the event saw 88 participants in various runs, and raised $1,500. The majority of funds were donated to Suicide Prevention Implements Network (SPIN), while the rest supported a bereavement group for parents who have lost a child to suicide, and sponsoring community members to attend workshops.

Martin divulged that the turnout for the past year was well beyond the group’s expectations. They are hoping to break 100 this year, with the official participant count already being at 60 as of Aug. 1 early-bird deadline.

“We’re getting really excited,” Martin enthused. “We have a really interesting lineup of speakers and entertainment that will have all of us on an emotional roller coaster.”

This year, Project 11, a group created in honour of former Manitoba Moose member Rick Rypien, will be receiving support. Rypien had a history of clinical depression, and took his own life in 2011. Project 11 is a cross-curricular prevention program targeting English Language Arts and Physical Education/Health Education outcomes, which brings virtual tutorials about mental health to grade 5-8 students. Funds received this year will go towards bringing Project 11 workshops and staff training to the Neepawa Area Collegiate Institute. The material will teach positive coping skills, focussing of the mind, increase participants self-awareness of feelings and strengths, and to build positive relationships.

Miles for Mental Health will also be hosting guest speaker Craig Heisinger, General Manager and Director of Hockey Operations for the Winnipeg Jets. Another speaker, the mother whose daughters suicide motivated Miles for Mental Health, will be bringing a powerful personal message about their daughter’s lifelong struggles with mental illness and their family’s very challenging experience. Music will be provided by the band Lunch Money, formed by Ron Nordstrom, Jim Danino, Hughie McLaughlan, and Greg Fleck. The 1k loop will be spruced up this year as well, featuring activities for kids while parents take part in the larger runs.

Martin would like to encourage anyone who has been affected by mental health to consider participating.

Registration forms are available for print on the new Miles for Mental Health website (, or can be picked up at the Neepawa Town Office, It’s Time Apparel, or the Neepawa Chiropractic Centre. Forms and fees must be sent to Miles for Mental Health via mail, or dropped off at the Town Office on 275 Hamilton Street. Last minute registration will start on the day of the event at 7:30 a.m., precisely one hour before the shotgun-start. Fees for registry vary and includes your choice of run or walk, food and beverages, a t-shirt, and entertainment.