Suicide prevention runners persist despite snowstorm

A day of remembrance: Many runners dressed in shirts of honour of their lost loved ones in Calgary on Sept. 29. Individuals either ran a 10k, 5k or did a 3.5k memorial walk in honour of loved ones. (Photo by Kori-Anne Clark/The Press)

The Centre for Suicide Prevention hosted its second annual Run for Life, alongside Calgary’s first snowfall on Sept. 29.

The snow didn’t stop individuals from participating in the run, with over 150 individuals making their way to the Simmons Building, early Sunday morning.

“It was chilly for the first 100 meters or so, but after that, it was easy-breezy,” said one of the runners, as he finished his 10k run.

Many of the participants are families, and friends who have lost someone close to them due to suicide.

“Running is good because it is good for your mental health, and because it brings people together,” said Mara Grunau, executive director at the Centre for Suicide Prevention.

People arrived at the Simmons Building to begin their races at 6:30 a.m.. Each race started in 15-minute intervals with a 10-kilometre run, five-kilometre run and a 3.5-kilometre memorial walk.

Throughout the memorial walk, volunteers walked alongside racers as they reminisced, speaking about lost loved ones.

“While I was running, people had posters up of the people they were running for, it was really encouraging to remind us why we are here,” said another runner as she finished her run.

Volunteers worked to ensure that individuals were able to remember their lost loved ones throughout the day.

“I hope you all got your lanterns, and when you go home today, you go and light your lanterns and remember your loved ones today,” said Carmelle Hunka, president of the board of directors for the Suicide Prevention.

There were four other runs happening around the city for a variety of reasons such as youth addiction awareness and animal conservation.

A reminder for later: Runners receiving their lanterns after finishing their runs in Calgary on Sept. 29. The lanterns were given to runners at the end of their run, for them to light in commemoration of their lost loved ones. (Photo by Kori-Anne Clark/The Press)