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Pemberton local to do 24-hour run for mental health awareness

Troy Knecht is looking to start a conversation about men’s mental health and suicide prevention with his Move Through Your Darkness initiative
Pemberton distance runner Troy Knecht looks to double his previous best endurance run when he attempts to run for 24 straight hours on April 2 and 3.

Whether he runs, walks or crawls his way through it, when April 2 rolls around, distance runner Troy Knecht will be on the streets and trails of Pemberton for 24 straight hours attempting to raise awareness for men’s mental health and suicide prevention.

The initiative that he titled Move Through Your Darkness is a personal endurance project that aims to combine two of Knecht’s passions: distance running and mental health awareness.

“I chose that name because it kind of represents and symbolizes the notion that a lot of us are going to have dark times during our life, but I’m hoping to kind of show that just by striving to move forward and putting one foot in front of the other and just staying in the fight, you will find the light again and you will come through the dark times,” he said.

“So I thought I’d try and do something to change the script and get people talking, end the stigma type thing, and combine the two passions into one project, which I’m super excited about, but slightly scared about. It will be something I’ve never done before.”

Men’s mental health and suicide prevention is an issue that hits close to home for Knecht, who lost a family member to suicide, and he will be doing this run in his memory.

The plan is to start his run the morning of Saturday, April 2, and by finishing at the same time the following day, Knecht will be keeping with his mantra, and will literally be moving through the darkness back into the light of a new day.

“The whole thing is that, come Sunday morning, the sun will rise again. So even after the darkest nights, the sun always rises,” he said. “So I’m just trying to let people know that it’s OK to not be OK, and that speaking isn’t a weakness.”

Knecht realizes we are in a “weird time” right now and he isn’t looking for any monetary donations to any charities. Instead, he just hopes for it to be an opportunity for people to connect with one another, start a conversation around mental health and hopefully share their own stories with him.

“What I’m hoping will happen, is people will get in and get involved. Remotely, in person, whatever it may be, whatever mode they want to do, for as long or as short as they feel they can do it,” said Knecht. “But I hope people get involved in person. I understand there will be some low points in my run, and you’d be surprised, maybe seeing people might be just what I need to re-energize me and lift the spirits and get me back on my feet and moving forward still.”

While his route isn’t totally planned out yet, Knecht said he is planning to stick to a consistent loop that will have an aid station in the middle of the village where people can meet and join him if they’d like. People will also be able to follow along and stay up to date with his progress during the day via his Instagram account @troy_knecht where he plans to post hourly progress videos.

Moving forward, Knecht hopes to make his Move Through Your Darkness initiative an annual occurrence. And while it may not always be a 24-hour run because he likes to challenge himself in different ways, the main focus of creating a conversation and giving people a space to share their stories will always be at the centre of whatever endurance project he chooses to do next.