RUN FOR MENTAL HEALTH
WITH STILL I RUN'S STARTING LINE SCHOLARSHIP
This May, for Mental Health Awareness Month, we’re helping spread the message of Still I Run's Starting Line Scholarship.
The non-profit's scholarship program is designed to help overcome mental health barriers in running by providing scholarship recipients with running shoes, running gear, regular check-ins from a certified coach, a Still I Run Mentor, an accountable community, and more.
Running can change lives. The Starting Line Scholarship can begin that change.
Hear it from some of the Starting Line Scholarship recipients.
Katy Gibson is a single mom of two active boys, Ethan (11) and Reid (9). All three of them received the Starting Line Scholarship in 2020 during a particularly rough season of life involving being in and out of the court system while dealing with an abusive ex-husband.
“I was overwhelmed with gratitude to receive the scholarship for our family – and it made the boys feel so special. At that time, I was not able to afford much more than basic needs. So, it was so special for all of us to have all new gear, race fees paid for, and support as we prepped for our race.”
For Katy, the program was especially meaningful as someone who almost lost her life to anorexia. She suffered from mental illness for over 15 years, and through inpatient help, continued therapy and medication, she says she’s living a full, high-functioning life.
To her, the Starting Line Scholarship has been a wonderful tool for becoming healthier both in mind and body. “The scholarship helps you to combat barriers, support your own mental health wellness, and fight against mental health stigma through running. Whether this is your first race or your 100th – the financial and coach support to do a run for mental health will be more impactful than you can imagine.”
For Sophie, the Starting Line Scholarship was just what she needed to get going after two of the most challenging years in her adult life. She knew she needed something to help develop better ways to cope and get her body moving again after a year of a sedentary lifestyle, but she just didn’t know where or how to start going again.
That’s when she found Still I Run’s Starting Line Scholarship.
“I discovered that I could use walking/running as a therapeutic tool, a nourishing self-care practice to help me build a better relationship with my body and my emotions while reconnecting with the natural world. And the best part is, I didn’t even need any running experience to apply. Only a willingness to engage and a commitment to myself and a wonderful community of supportive mental health warriors.”
In addition to getting a Starting Line Scholarship box of running gear (which she said felt like “Christmas all over again”), Still I Run also took care of all the details of finding a 5K race that would be perfect for her and took care of registration for Sophie’s very first race. “My SIR mentor and running coach are with me every step of the way, cheering me on, guiding my steps, designing and adjusting my personalized training plan weekly so that it’s doable, sustainable, and most importantly, healing. It makes me feel accomplished and better about myself, more grounded, more in tune to my body's needs and respectful of them.”
About Still I Run and the Starting Line Scholarship
Still I Run was founded by Sasha Wolff in 2016, however the idea for the group came to her a few years earlier. In 2011, she was hospitalized for anxiety and depression and one of the coping mechanisms she learned while getting help was the concept of creating healthy routines and habits. One day, shortly after discharge from the hospital, Sasha put on a very neglected pair of running shoes and decided to go for a short walk. That walk felt so great, that she kept doing it on a regular basis and eventually started to go faster and longer. She hasn’t stopped running for her mental health since.
Once she discovered the benefits of running for mental health, Sasha wanted to connect with others who do the same thing. Unfortunately, she couldn’t find a group anywhere, so she decided to create the group herself and Still I Run (now a community of more than 8,000 strong) was born.
At Still I Run, we believe that running can be a very useful and impactful way to manage a mental health condition. Because our non-profit is all about promoting the benefits of running for mental health, we want to help people overcome any barriers they may experience when it comes to that journey. Some of those barriers may include lack of discretionary income to purchase proper shoes, shirts, shorts, socks, and gear. Another barrier may be not knowing where to start or anxiety about starting. We've even seen lack of a support network be a barrier to starting. The Starting Line Scholarship eliminates all of that.
Scholarship recipients will receive a pair of Altra shoes, proper running clothes (shirt, shorts, socks, & sports bra for individuals that request one), entry into the 5K or 10K of their choice (can be in-person or virtual), Still I Run swag, a certified run coach to work with them one on one, tailored training plan, and a Still I Run mentor.
The reason we started this scholarship is because we want to make running for mental health a national movement and do introduce more people to the act of running for mental health, we want to help eliminate any barriers people may experience in doing so.
Applications are accepted year-round, and decisions are made on a quarterly basis. The next three deadlines are May 31, August 31, and November 30.