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Starting Line Scholarship encourages those living with mental illness to take up running

"The goal is to make the experience of running for mental health such a positive one, that people continue with this lifelong healthy habit."

Anxiety and depression can be debilitating and isolating. West Michigan's Sasha Wolff is on a mission to help those living with mental illness better manage it through running...and running in community.

A few years after she was hospitalized for depression in 2011, she launched Still I Run, and now the non-profit is 8,000 members strong.

13 ON YOUR SIDE'S Meredith TerHaar spoke with Sasha to learn about the scholarship they are offering to help those struggling with mental illness take up running.

"Still I Run is a 501c3 I started in October of 2016 with the goal of promoting the benefits of running for mental health, defeating the stigma around mental health, creating community, and helping others get involved in running for mental health," explained Sasha. 

Credit: Provided

"In 2020 we launched the Starting Line Scholarship. Everyone likes to say that all you need is a pair of shoes to get started running, but that's not necessarily true and we know there are barriers to getting started such as:

  • Not having a proper pair of shoes or running clothes due to financial reasons
  • Little knowledge about what it takes to start running
  • Not knowing how to get started
  • Anxiety about signing up for a race, or following a training plan
  • No system of support/Lacking accountability

With the Starting Line Scholarship, we take care of all of that. All recipients get:

  • Altra Running Shoes
  • Running gear to get you started such as a shirt, bottoms, socks and a Oiselle Running Sports Bra (if you want one)
  • SPF30 Facial Moisturizer by FRE
  • $75 BRANWYN gift card
  • Still I Run swag
  • Entry into the 5K or 10K race of your choice
  • A custom training plan to help you finish your race (or a 10-12 running program if you don’t want to do a race)
  • Regular check-ins from a certified run coach
  • A Still I Run mentor

"Our goal is to make the experience of running for mental health such a positive one, that people continue with this lifelong healthy habit. While we know that running isn't a cure-all for depression, we DO know that it's scientifically proven to help symptoms of depression and anxiety. When used with medication and therapy, running does truly help a person out.

Credit: Provided

"We've partnered up with Strider's West Michigan, Altra Running, Oiselle, Fre Skincare, Bondi Band and Branwyn to make this program successful. We accept applications to the scholarship year-round and make decisions on a quarterly basis. Our next deadline is May 31!"

Click here to apply.

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