In the summer of 2009, CMHA Toronto adapted a 10-week running/walking program for individuals with lived experience with mental illness and addictions issues. The program succeeded in empowering healthy responses to issues of diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and other health complications. Participants use the 10 weeks to prepare for the Scotiabank Waterfront 5 km race.
The group of about 12 participants met once per week, with the expectation that they would train two days per week on their own. Group run/walk days proceeded as follows:
- Meet and greet, then completion of the Run/Walk scheduled routine (as outlined in the Beginner 5K Running / Walking Program by John Stanton, founder of the Running Room).
- Stretch while debriefing on the exercise
- Presentations: Healthy Eating on a Shoe String Budget (nutritious snacks provided) + guest speaker
Guest speakers included:
- a manager of the Running Room to present on shoe-fitting and injury prevention
- an individual with lived experience who used running as an important part of her recovery
- a representative of Physical Activity for Consumer Survivors (PhACS)
- representatives from the diabetes clinic from the Vaughan Community Health Centre
The Running Room and PhACS provided consultation services. The Running Room also provided donations of gently used running shoes, runner quality t-shirts, 16 medals, and 1 information session for beginner runners.
CMHA Toronto conducted a follow-up survey and collected testimonials. The response was very positive and participation continued for a time after the race until the weather turned cold. The group would be interested in making the Drive for 5 at least an annual event.
For more information, contact:
Mark Dwyer, Case Manager
416-789-7957 x 234
mdwyer [at] cmha-toronto [dot] net
Tom Allen, Peer Facilitator
tallen [at] cmha-toronto [dot] net