The following is a guest post by Mike Hoehn, Founder, Coach and Lead Volunteer of ANNE’S TEAM
iRun…for My Mom ~ Mike Hoehn
I ran my first marathon in 2007. I’d always wanted to run a marathon, and as I was living and working in NY at the time, I had one of the world’s greatest marathons right in my back yard. Unfortunately I wasn’t quite fast enough to qualify back then, so to gain my spot, I committed to raise funds for charity. In short, running 42.2K through the five boroughs of NY and crossing the finish line of the 2007 NY Marathon, knowing I’d run not only for myself but to help many others, was one of the most EXHILARATING feelings I’d ever experienced.
A few years later I arrived in Toronto, ready to take my philanthropic efforts to new heights. Up to that point in my life, my charitable efforts had been limited to volunteering, making donations, attending charity galas –the things that many of you do today. It was now time for something BIGGER and something more PERSONAL. Which brings me to my Mom…Anne Hoehn.
Though not a runner, she was someone who endured a long journey. My mother suffered depression for many decades of her life. The severity of her condition surfaced when she was in her mid-twenties, and I was just a little boy, as she attempted suicide two times. Fortunately for me and all who knew her, she was able to stabilize, and through sheer will and perseverance, she was able to manage her depression and live for another thirty years. During her life, she was a WONDERFUL wife, mother, sister, daughter – and a great friend to all who knew her. Sadly, my mother died of suicide in 1999. She was 54 years old.
Though depression surfaced in her early adult years, the roots of her issues lay in her childhood and adolescence. That’s why the focus of the Anne Hoehn Memorial Foundation – or ANNE’S TEAM – is to raise awareness and funds for partner programs in youth mental health. Youth mental health is arguably the MOST neglected, LEAST understood, and MOST underfunded area of healthcare in young people today. And it is my unflappable desire to help young people who face social, emotional, and psychological issues, just as my Mom faced when she was young. Those young people who we can help will form an important part of ANNE’S legacy.
So what have I tried to create with ANNE’S TEAM? Something rare in the local community. I’ve built an organization where runners hold the sport AND the cause in equally regard. The Half and Full Marathoners on ANNE’S TEAM believe strongly in BOTH running for oneself AND for running for a cause that matters. Some of us run very fast, some of us not so fast. Some of us are beginners, some of us are marathon veterans. Some of us come with a strong connection to the cause, some of us with only an open mind and a general belief that sound mental health is important for all. What brings us together as a TEAM is our conviction in BOTH the sport of endurance running AND the spirit of charity.
The centrepiece of the ANNE’S TEAM experience is our 20-week Team Training program for Half and Full Marathoners, which culminates with our participation in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon event in mid-October. We begin this year’s program on May 26, and welcome anyone to join us. We offer anyone a two-week trial period with no obligation, so you can simply come out, join us for some runs, and see how you like it. Though we accept new runners up to August 6, we encourage you to come out as soon as you can to take full advantage of everything our program offers. Please visit our website and read about the many benefits you receive as an ANNE’S TEAM runner (benefit package, training program, guest speakers, sponsors, discounts, etc.). Find us at www.annesteam.com and Like us on Facebook at ANNE’S TEAM – Promoting Mental Wellness
Finally, a few words about fundraising. Fundraising? OMG OMG!! Before you stop reading at the sight of the “F” word, please indulge me for a few more sentences. I recognize that we ALL give generously to multiple causes and organizations, and going to our personal and professional networks to fundraise is sometimes not easy. What I tell our runners is very simple. My job is to give you the most rich and meaningful 20-week experience that I can. Your job is to fundraise a minimum prescribed amount. That’s our basic contract – think of it as a something we shake on. I will set you up with a personalized online fundraising page, provide you a toolbox of fundraising resources, and do all I can to help you achieve success. History shows that if you just try, you’ll likely reach your minimum – every ANNE’S TEAM participant at Scotiabank 2011 reached their minimum fundraise.
Now any funds that you raise beyond that minimum…well that’s up to you. My philosophy is that fundraising runners often go well beyond the minimum IF they feel they’ve had a great experience. In other words, they’re more likely to give back if they’ve had an experience that is valuable and meaningful to them. That’s one reason I’m especially proud of the 48 fundraising runners on ANNE’S TEAM 2011, who raised an AVERAGE of over $1,100 per person! Indeed, they were, and are, a special of group of people who went to great ends, but I would like to think their overachievement is at least partially a reflection of the experience they had and their desire to give back to it.
I hope you visit our website and learn more about us, and hopefully I’ll see you soon at one of our runs!
If you, or someone you know, is Running for a Reason, please send your story to email@example.com and we might feature it right here on this blog!