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    Tomorrow this man finishes his run across Canada in support of Mental Health

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    At 3pm tomorrow in Newfoundland, Skylar Roth, if all goes according to plan, will have completed a run across Canada in 143 days. Inspired by Terry Fox, Roth has a singular mission: alerting Canadians, and Canadian men, on the importance of prioritizing their mental health. iRun editor Ben Kaplan caught up with Roth in Newfoundland, where he had 185 kilometres remaining on his impactful, important cross country run.  

    Ben Kaplan: Where are you, how are you, and what’s the good word? 

    Skylar Roth: Clarenville, Newfoundland, and I’ve been on the road since June 1. Today is Day 140 and I’m all set to finish in 72 hours at Kilometre Zero in St. John’s, Newfoundland. 

    BK: How are you feeling?

    SR: I have 185 kilometres to go!  

    BK: And how much have you run? 

    SR: The average of my actual running days is probably like 65K, on average. My longest day was 85K and right now, we’re hitting 55 to 65 kilometres-per-day to the finish line 

    BK: That’s so awesome. And how are you feeling, besides beat? 

    SR: The biggest challenge is the cold, and wind, and the off and on rain. 

    BK: Ugh. All that after running for 140 straight days. 

    SR: It’s the least motivating weather. It’s cold. You’re trying to stay warm and constantly changing back into cold, wet clothes. 

    BK: I think you just described hell. 

    SR: When this is over I’m going to take a vacation. 

    BK: What’s been the highlight of your trip? 

    SR: The scenery. All of it has been so beautiful, and meeting the people in every province. I’m from the Rockies, but I’d never run through them before, and the shoreline of Lake Superior in Northern Ontario, that was beautiful. And getting into the Maritimes and seeing my family in Cape Breton was a big highlight. It’s been great coast to coast. 

    BK: What have you learned, running so much so continuously? 

    SR: Listen to your body. Sometimes it feels like I can just go for it, so on those days I might add 10 or 15K to my run. But other times, when the body says chill out, I cut 10K, or else don’t run at all. Fortunately I was all the way in Ontario when the body asked me for a rest day.

    Around Ottawa, it started to feel long.  

    BK: What’s been your go-to source of fuel? 

    SR: Pizza pops and ravioli, soup. Not on a ton of nutritious stuff. I’m operating on a 3,000 caloric deficit. 

    BK: What did you eat today?

    SR: Fried chicken sandwich. 

    BK: That’s something you can only do at 25. Eat that at 47, and afterwards all you can do is nap. 

    SR: Sometimes I swear I wake up in the morning and feel like I can’t run 2K, but at the end of the day, you’ve gone 65K. That’s why I don’t give up.  

    BK: When did you get interested in running? 

    SR: Terry Fox. I was blown away by what he did and always had running across Canada on my bucket list. During the pandemic, I wasn’t doing super great mental health-wise and figured, If I don’t use my time now, I won’t ever do it. 

    BK: Keep talking about mental health. 

    SR: We decided to run across Canada to raise funds for the Canadian Mental Health Association. I lost two good friends to suicide and that’s been a struggle. I know how big a problem suicide is all over Canada. I’m not the only one who felt that way losing loved ones, so to be able to go out in the pandemic, when times are tough, felt like a good time to shine a light. 

    BK: Shining a light to help erase stigma. 

    SR: We’ve come a long way, but there’s still stigma, especially amongst men. I see what a struggle it can be for men to talk about their mental health which I, personally, don’t struggle with. I look at my mental health like my physical health. No one’s shy about seeing a doctor when they break their arm, so I’m not shy about speaking about depression. I’m open about it. 

    BK: That’s a great way to put it. 

    SR: People have thanked me for being open about it and that just makes me want to continue doing it.

    BK: ASICS has helped you on your journey, right? 

    SR: We’re partners. Earlier this year they took me in and they’ve been a great help with logistics and gear, it’s been amazing. No way I could’ve finished the run without their support. 

    BK: Have you run your whole journey in ASICS? 

    SR: Yeah, a variety of them. The Glide Ride 2 are the big ones. I wear those 70% of the time, but also the Nova Blast 2 and the Trabuco trail runners—those are pretty deadly, too.   

    BK: Good luck, man, and good on you. We’re all excited for you to cross that finish line. Give us a last word of wisdom. What do you want to tell the runners of iRun

    SR: Take time for yourself and do the little things that make you happy. 

    BK: Amen. 

    SR: And if you’re in a really bad place, go to the hospital. That’s where the professionals are. They’ll help you figure stuff out. Tell them everything. There’s no shame in that.

    To follow the Skylar Roth, and donate to the cause, see SkylarRothMcDonald on Strava; and @skylarrothmac on Instagram. See Miles4SmilesCanada.com to make a donation.