September 1, 2011
An estimated 11,000 people ran the Falmouth Road Race on Sunday August 14. Most of them were not expecting to win, but their participation was no less meaningful. For many, just finishing the grueling 7-mile race was a victory. Some trained for a the whole year to complete the race. Some run alone, and others are part of a larger group effort, to raise money for charitable causes and/or to increase awareness of issues.
Such was the case for a group of runners from Genesis and Fairwinds, two clubhouses for people recovering from or dealing with mental illness. Members of Genesis, of Worcester, have been running for five years, and this year they have a group of 28 people participating. Fairwinds of Falmouth is in its second year of participation.
Gail Blakely, a gourmet cook who writes the food column for the Enterprise, sponsored a meal for the runners of both teams the night before the race at the home of her sister and brother-in-law in West Falmouth. I was there to do shoot some video for Valerie May Douglas’s FCTV show on the Falmouth Road Race. Only snippets of my interviews will be used in Valerie’s final show about all aspects of the race, so we agreed that I would post the full interviews here.
Kevin Bradley, the executive director of Genesis, said that the Falmouth Road Race is important for three basic reasons. It helps raise considerable funds for the organizations, as each runner is committed to raising a certain level of donations to participate; it motivates club members to improve their fitness, and it “brings mental illness out of the darkness,” by showing other runners and race watchers that people with mental illness are part of the community.
But let him tell you in his own words:
Noah Totten spoke for Fairwinds. Last year, Fairwinds members raised $48,000, which they used to help buy a new building for the club.
As did Karen Troup-Gallent, director of Fairwinds:
and Rachel Grinnell, who was running for Fairwinds:
Jonathan Feeney is not running this year; shorter races are more to his liking, but he may do so in the future:
Eddie Sanborn is not running this year due to injuries, but he attended to support the others.
Chelsea Graves is running for Genesis. She got involved because of Kevin Bradley, a neighbor and friend:
Gail Blakey explains her interest in mental illness and the Falmouth Road Race.
The meal, by the way, was delicious:
Kevin Bradley spoke after the meal about the race and his mission make people more aware of mental illness:
As did Noah Totten:
And it ended with a singalong, the “Genesis Song,” dedicated to people with mental illness at Worcester State Hospital who were buried in unmarked graves. It is time to bring mental illness out of the darkness.