January 6, 2016
Raising Awareness for Suicide and Depression: 2x CrossFit Games Masters Champ Amanda Allen’s 1200km Run
By Amanda Allen
May 9, 2016
My name is Amanda Allen. I am a two-time CrossFit Games Masters Champion, a four-time top 5 Australian CrossFit Regionals competitor and a 2011 Individual CrossFit Games competitor, finishing 19th. I have silently struggled with suicidal depression and alcohol abuse throughout my life.
In 2016 I’ve decided to take the year off from competing and focus instead on a new project that has personal significance to me, a project that will allow me to connect with the Australian community and shed light on an otherwise dark subject.
Starting on May 29, I will spend just over a month running from Toowoomba to Mackay via inland Queensland farming communities in Australia. This is a mammoth task that has never been undertaken before. A 32 day, 1200km journey through the sunshine state, to shine a light on suicide and depression and encourage kindness, mateship and stronger communities.
I’ve never done anything as demanding as this run before. It scares me, the idea would utterly overwhelm me if I let it—and some days it does.It presents me with massive uncertainty and gruelling physical and mental demands, the likes of which I am trying not to think about. This is exactly what living with depression feels like on a daily basis. I can’t think of a more symbolic journey than this 1200km run to reflect the depths of struggle that living with depression presents to so many people each and every day.
How I am preparing for this run is a reflection of how I live my life battling depression. I keep turning up, I put one foot in front of the other, and I try my best each day. That is all I can do. Some days I do better, on other days I don’t do much at all. Nonetheless, on all days I’m actually doing my best, it just doesn’t always appear that way when looking from the outside-in.
I’m bringing my beloved dogs Pepper and Ishka on this journey with me. I don’t go anywhere without them, and as much as they love to run with me, I won’t let them run 30kms a day for 32 days. They are my soul mates, an essential part of my healing and my life today. My 70 year-old CrossFitting Mum will also be part of my support crew, along with a dear friend who has taken the month off of work to give her time to turning this very special project into a reality and a success. I can’t do this run alone. I can’t live with depression alone.
Through this run, I want to create a safe space to have conversations about suicide, depression, struggle and the fear of living. I want everyone to know that it takes courage to admit you’re suffering, that in reaching out we are helping ourselves to choose life. Isolation and social withdrawal is dangerous for those of us who suffer with depression. I want people to know that the struggle toward the light is worth it. I was derelict, suicidally depressed, overeating, over-drinking, my life was a daily experience of despair and darkness. It is not that way today. Today I laugh, I live well, I have health and I have people to love and people who love me. This isn’t to say I don’t struggle with the black dog, because I do, but I have learned how to live a full and wondrous life with it, and that is the message and the miracle I want to share.
The charitable organisation Run For MI Life, in conjunction with Amanda Allen, have created the ‘Run For MI Queensland’ event.
The route I will be running is based upon key towns that have been chosen to be visited. These locations have been hand selected and were found to have the highest age-standardised suicide rate in the Western region of Queensland. Run for MI Queensland supports struggling farmers and mining towns that have been adversely affected by the economic down-turn and drought. The towns include:
Toowoomba – 29 May
Dalby – 31 May
Roma – 9 June
Emerald – 16 June
Moranbah – 24 June
Mackay – 2 July
Should you wish to run with me, each location will have a start and finish zone and participants can register here for the run:
Adults $35 // Children $25 – Aged up to 12 years // Family Pass $95 – 2 Adults & 2 Children
Primary School Group $20 – min 15 per booking // High School Group $30 – min 15 per booking.
Registrations will entitle each participant to a ‘Box Session’ with Amanda, entry to run with her and a supporter’s commemorative shirt.
Additionally I am releasing a WOD for Depression on Monday 13th June. This will coincide with the halfway point of my 1200km Run for Depression in June.
Box owners are asked to program this WOD during the week from 13th June until 20th June. All participants are asked to donate a gold coin to Run For MI Life. Box owners are to collect the donations and transfer this to:
http://runformilife.org.au/39-latest-projects/77-make-a-donation. The Wod will be released May 29th.
Photo Credit: 2014 CrossFit, Inc. Used with permission from CrossFit, Inc.