In It for the Long Run
This month, to raise funds for supporting Men’s Health, Sydney local Dan Price, is running 126.6km (that’s 3 full marathons in one go!), more than doubling his Move for Movember goal to run 60km in 2019.This will be Dan’s 5th year as an Official Mo Bro since 2015, the year following Dan trying to take his own life in December 2014. With the help of Movember, Dan has overcome his own battle, working towards his own mental health recovery, while also continuing to follow his passion and purpose of helping and supporting those around him.
Dan saw his passion for running as the perfect opportunity to physically challenge himself, and rally an audience to raise much needed funds for a cause close to his heart.
We caught up with Dan to chat all things running, Movember and mental health - here’s what he had to say.
lululemon: Dan, this year you’re taking part in Move for Movember and running 126.6km. That’s huge! Tell us more about the run - when, where and who are you running with?
Dan: ‘The Long Run’ for Movember is an ultra-marathon I’ve decided to run to bring people together for Movember’s important cause. This will build on the foundations laid during the 60km run I completed for Movember in 2019, where 40-50 people from the community came out to support me running various sections of that 6 hour stint. The Long Run will take place in Sydney on November 28th - starting at Bondi Beach at 4am, we will run north all the way to Palm Beach, and back again, aiming to finish in Bondi around 6pm (assuming all goes relatively to plan!). When I mentioned this crazy idea to a good mate of mine - Lockie Clancy, he instantly said ‘I’m In!’. Lockie ran his first marathon alongside me when I ran the 60km last year (which was a special moment for both of us), and although he is an amazing athlete, he is well out of his comfort zone with this triple marathon challenge, as am I.
lululemon: What does the run represent to you? Can you share the ‘why’ behind running this major distance?
Dan: Mental Health and suicide prevention are very close to me for numerous reasons. Not only was I extremely lucky to survive two suicide attempts in 2014, I also tragically lost a mate to suicide in 2016. Across the globe we lose 60 men every 60 minute to suicide; that is one life every single minute. This statistic is shocking and hard to comprehend. The physical pain that my body feels on my 60km training runs on very little sleep at 4am before a day of work doesn’t compare to the mental and emotional pain that someone battling mental illnesses like depression, anxiety and PTSD is going through on a daily basis. I lived many years in that painful, lonely and dark corner of the earth, so I want to let people know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. There is help, there is hope. I am living proof that we can heal and find a journey back to wellness. This is my why.
lululemon: How has running impacted you in your life?
Dan: I loved running as a kid, but team sports soon took over as my main passion in primary school until I was about 25 years old and stopped playing tennis and soccer competitively. Running came back into my life mainly as a way to keep physically fit and more importantly at the time, mentally fit. It was my outlet to self-manage my ADHD and anxiety. It was my medicine. I was running shorter 10km run club races, City2Surf, Sydney half marathon etc.
In 2016 I was hit by a car while riding a motorbike and broke my leg and ankle badly. The ankle required major surgery and the surgeon advised I probably wouldn’t run well again. Following that injury and recovery I really struggled with my mental health as I was unable to do any exercise for about 6 months. When I finally started running again, I was just doing it for fun. I was so grateful for every step my body was able to take and was no longer driven to compete in races like I used to. I discovered the amazing community culture around social run clubs, and joined The 440 in Bronte about 12 months ago. This is where everything changed for me. I discovered real commUNITY. I found love, connection, acceptance, inclusivity. I found my people. It was running around in circles at 5am on a Saturday morning in the dark when something special happened, and I had the idea to do the 60km for Movember in 2019. At the time my longest run was 25km. I wanted to do something big for the cause, and I only had 3 weeks to prepare. People said it was impossible. It wasn’t. BUT it would have been impossible if I had tried to do it on my own, without any support. Just like how battling mental illness on your own is brutal and near impossible.
I talk about the three C’s – Community, Connection and Conversation. This is what The Long Run is all about; these are our fundamentals. Last year there was so much love and support around me and Movember’s important causes. We raised a lot of awareness and funds. We laughed and cried together. We opened up and were vulnerable in conversation, as it was a safe space for people to let down their guard and speak their truth. I heard painful, sad stories from mates of 20 years that I had never heard before. Many people ran personal best distances on the day, yet another silver lining. My only hope is that we can replicate this during the 126.6km journey this year, on November 28th 2020.
lululemon: What does it take to set a big goal like this and to then push yourself to actually complete it?
Dan: Firstly, it takes passion and purpose to do something this big for charity. Especially when you aren’t a professional endurance athlete, or someone with a lot of experience under your belt. Then it takes a lot of dedication. Day in day out consistency. It is a real blood, sweat and tears approach. I reached out to many professional ultra-runners online to get training, nutrition and recovery tips before pulling together a pretty scary looking 4 month training program. Most of them said with my experience you would ideally need 6-12 months of training, but 4 would do. I have trained 6 days a week for 14 weeks now. Just a few weeks of hard training left to go now before a couple of ‘taper’ weeks of lighter training to let the body recover whilst keeping it moving and fit. As of 21 October some of my training stats are pretty big to look at, especially considering I am a father of two and have a busy full time job; I have run 678km in training with 4 runs over marathon distance, 20 hours of run specific strength training, plenty of ice baths, many hours stretching and rolling, 6 remedial messages, 5 physio treatments, a few pairs of shoes, a bit of chafe and 5 missing toenails (it’s a shame toenails don’t convert to donation dollars!).
lululemon: How do you continue to stay motivated and set big goals for men’s health outside of key fundraising periods?
Dan: This is a passion and purpose that comes from my heart and soul. I fight for this cause every day, in everything I do. I want to do anything and everything I can to stop our men dying too young. So it’s pretty simple for me, I just keep moving forward, one foot in front of the other. Especially on the tough days. They’re the most important days to get up, lace up and get moving.
"This is my passion and purpose that comes from my heart and soul."
lululemon: What do you hope to accomplish with your 126km run (beyond raising funds)?
Dan: I want to bring hope to those that are struggling with mental health issues. I want to bring people together and inspire people to get active for both their mental and physical health. I want to encourage people to start open and honest conversations that can save lives. We know a conversation can save a life. A conversation saved my life, and I’ve saved lives since just by being there for people and talking with them during their time of need. I hope that someone hears my story and decides to open up about his struggles before it’s too late.
The topics we are discussing may trigger feelings and thoughts that may or may not be expected. If you’re concerned about your mental health, or a mate’s mental health, Movember recommends encouraging them to see a doctor, or to call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
You can also find more places to get help at Movember.
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