Run to the Sun

Run to the Sun

About This Campaign

My Name is Lucas Werger, and at 6:00 am on December 3rd I will step into the Pacific Ocean at Ho'okipa Beach, Maui, Hawaii, harness the power of the sea within me, and then begin my journey of running 64.7 km to the summit of Haleakala at 10, 023 feet above sea level.

This will not only be a great physical challenge for me, but it will also be the beginning of a journey to rise above the immense mental health struggles that I have been afflicted with throughout my life. And as part of this challenge, I am raising much needed funds for TEAM UNBREAKABLE.

This organization directly helps to improve youth mental health through running programs. It aims to reduce the stigma of mental health disorders, builds awareness of the issues, and it promotes the positive aspects of physical health on mental health. Team Unbreakable provides tools, knowledge, and support through speaking engagements, workshops, and special events, which benefit students, parents, social workers, school boards, hospitals, universities, and many other health and community partners.

Any donation amount will be very much appreciated and put to good use.

PLEASE READ MY ENTIRE STORY BELOW

Location / Venue

  • Address:
  • Haleakala
  • HI 96790
  • USA
  • Time:
  • Dec 03, 2018 06:00 am to
  • Dec 03, 2018 02:00 pm
Team Unbreakable

Campaign to Support Team Unbreakable

The goal of Team Unbreakable is to reduce the stigma of youth mental illness, build awareness of the issues, and to promote the positive aspects of physical health on mental health. By doing this we aim to reduce the incidence of youth suicide and promote wellbeing.

The Team Unbreakable Program is a recreational run program that promotes better youth mental health through exercise and education.  We team up with schools (as a recreational program available to all) and in several hospitals, community health agencies and family health teams (as a run therapy program).   The school program is endorsed by several school boards and has over 1000 students participating every term.   It is supported by a curriculum, materials, and workshops.  We raise awareness and help bring people closer to the issues through speaking engagements, workshops, special events and media. 

Feel free to contact us for more information or to find out if there is a Team Unbreakable near you or visit www.teamunbreakable.ca/locations

As more and more people, including myself, acknowledge their mental health struggles, the need for positive coping strategies has become critical. One such strategy that is gaining more credit as a unique mental health therapy is the action of running. Studies have proven and recorded the benefits of running and its ability to aid in the process of rewiring the brain and creating new healthy pathways. And therapists and medical practitioners are now beginning to help guide people into mental health rehabilitation using this method.

https://running.competitor.com/2018/04/wellness/running-with-your-therapist_170125 (related article)

I am a person who has spent most of my life involved in sports, and have never been unfit. Yet it wasn’t until I began to embrace the act of running as its own entity that I discovered its power in improving my mental health. In the past year I have taken on running as therapy and it is changing my life.

 My Disorder

I suffer from Body Dysmorphic Disorder. It’s a debilitating mental health condition that causes me to have an excessive preoccupation with non-existent or slight defects in my appearance. My mind creates a skewed visual perception of myself. I see deformities throughout my face and body, and constantly focus on my physical features that I deem to be incorrect. My mind has also created an over heightened sensory system in relation to my visual cues. So I regularly feel physical discomfort which seems to validate what I am seeing. This condition creates intense anxiety and times of depression. It has made it difficult, sometimes impossible to attend my schooling, fulfil my work responsibilities, or interact in social events. Many times I’ve been unable to leave the house, and when I do, it’s rare that I do so at the anticipated or necessary time. Being late or absent has been my trademark. And throughout the years these struggles have been kept very hidden.

As with most mental health disorders, it is extremely difficult to speak about it. Fear of being labelled, looked at differently or negatively, or rejected and made fun of can keep a mental health sufferer, such as myself, quiet. And for me, I felt embarrassed by it. I would withhold or lie about everything that I was going through, even at the cost of making myself seem like an uncaring, lazy, or vain individual. And this only created anger and misunderstandings, contributing more to my personal pain and frustrations. Even now, as I am gaining more courage to speak out about it, trying to come up with the words for what I am experiencing is never easy.

www.katharinephillipsmd.com/bdd.html

 My major problems began in high school, and since then I have had manageable times and not so manageable times. Moments of hope and moments of despair. I hit a very low point last year where my daily anxiety was so much so that it would keep me up all hours of the night crying, wishing and wanting to take my own life. Sadly, attempted suicides for individuals suffering from BDD may be as high as 25%, but fortunately for me, my strong family bond and personal willpower kept me fighting.

My Therapy 

One terrible, no good, very bad night, while my anxiety began to elevate towards a full panic attack I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, laced up my shoes and ran out the door. This was not a planned workout like I had done so many times in the past when training for athletics, this was much different. I was running to escape the monster that was hijacking my mind. The alternative to not running out the door that night was not good, so I just went. This was no immediate cure, and I remember returning to the same obsessive and vulnerable state upon returning from that run. But I realized that during the time that I was out that night, I felt free from my burden. I could in fact run away from the monster at least for a short time.

Slowly my runs became more frequent and progressively longer. And I slowly began to notice more “happy times” post run. As well, the hours of this so-called “happy time” began increasing as my running schedule increased. And the wonderful thing about all of this was that it was an immediate and spontaneous action. There was no planning necessary for me, it could be done anywhere, anytime, and only at the cost of a pair of shoes. Furthermore, I did not have to interact with anyone along the way, which was normally a major concern for me. My mind could just detach and simply connect with nature around me.

After trying many different failed medications over the years, I finally was able to find one that has been relatively successful in decreasing my anxiety symptoms. Together with my running therapy I feel as though I am beginning to rewire my mind and make new positive pathways. Although I still struggle from my mental health disorder, and I know that I may never totally rid myself of it, I can now look at each new day without fear, and I am starting to imagine a successful and positive future.

 My Run

 At the beginning of this past spring I decided to set a year end goal of running an ultra marathon. Maybe a regular marathon would be enough (and I know for a fact that the mental health benefits of running kick in at much shorter distances), but I felt that with my athletic background and my seemingly severe condition I needed a bigger mountain to climb. And I knew the perfect one.

Enter Haleakala Volcano, Maui, Hawaii. Home to the posthumous “Run to the Sun” Ultra Marathon. 

www.aimforawesome.com/maui-hawaii/mauis-coolest-run-to-the-sun-cancelled/

 In 1977, two Maui teachers and cross country coaches challenged each other to run 60 km from sea to summit as a friendly bet. Upon succeeding in their gruelling challenge, the annual ultra marathon was born. And so was I. I came into this world on September 27, 1977.

Although the annual event is no longer held, I will be replicating the run with my own challenge. At 6:00 am on December 03rd, 2018 I will step into the Pacific Ocean at Ho’okipa Beach, Maui, harness the power of the sea within me and begin my journey of running to the summit of Haleakala at 10, 023 ft. (3,055 m) above sea level.

 My Route

 After leaving Ho’okipa Beach on the North Shore of Maui, I will briefly run West on the Hana Hwy before turning South down Holomua Road, immediately beginning my ascent to the quaint cowboy town of Makawao (Aid Station #1 @ 12.4 km (7.7mi).

From there I will continue South on Olinda Road from Makawao. I will then turn onto Hanamu Road before connecting to the #377 Haleakala Hwy. Once on the Hwy I will follow it South to the #377/ #378 Haleakala Hwy junction (Aid Station #2 @ 24.3 km (15.1 mi).

At the point I will turn East and begin my journey up the many steep switchbacks of the #378 hwy to the Haleakala National Park Summit Entrance (Aid Station #3 @ 34.6km (21.5mi).

The next section will continue along the road and consist of three longer switchbacks taking me to the Halemau’u Trailhead. (Aid Station #4 @ 41.7 km (25.9 mi).

At this point I will veer off the main route to the summit, and instead take the Halemau’u Trail heading East. This trailhead is located at 7, 990 ft. (2,435 m) and will take me towards a winding descent of approximately 1,394 feet (425 m) on rough technical terrain. Upon making my way down this cliff side I will then be running through the largest dormant volcanic crater in the world, and making my way through the lunar landscape of volcanic cinders and boulders made from Haleakala’s last summit eruptions. And I will continue along following the Halemau’u Trail to the Kapaloao Cabin on the South East edge of the crater (Aid Station #5 @ 53.6 km (33.3mi).

The final leg of my ultra run will send me West along the Keonehe’ehe’e (Sliding Sands) Trail. This last stage will be a test of my will as the trail steeply ascends approximately 3,000 ft. (914 m) over 10.1 km (6.6 mi). With crumbling stones underfoot, and a thinning oxygen level, a sprint to the finish will be highly unlikely. Puu Ulaula (Red Hill), the highest point on Haleakala will be my final destination of this run, where I will reach my final, and much needed Aid Station at 10, 023 ft. (3, 055 m).

Total distance covered will be 64.7 km (40.2 mi)

Total cumulative elevation gain will be approximately 11, 417 ft (3,480 m)

  1. Co2 Solutions
    Co2 Solutions gave a $52.44 donation
    19 days ago · Like
  2. Janet Mundell
    Janet Mundell gave a $50 donation
    21 days ago · Like
  3. Linda Matteau
    Linda Matteau gave a $52.44 donation
    What a courageous undertaking, best of luck! Luc and Linda
    30 days ago · Like
  4. Christopher  Johnson
    Christopher Johnson gave a $208.86 donation
    Great work Luke!!!
    about 1 month ago · Like
  5. Matt Ruhnke
    Matt Ruhnke gave a $1,000 donation
    Love you, little Wergy with the biggest heart and ineffable courage, dedication, determination, and passion! :)
    about 1 month ago · Like · 1 person likes this.
  6. Patricia Goff
    Patricia Goff gave a $200 donation
    about 1 month ago · Like
  7. Moira Howes gave a $26.37 donation
    about 1 month ago · Like
  8. Cathy Bolan
    Cathy Bolan gave a $62.87 donation
    Good job, Lucas!
    about 1 month ago · Like
  9. Paul Crough
    Paul Crough gave a $100 donation
    about 1 month ago · Like
  10. Jade Rieves
    Jade Rieves gave a $10.73 donation
    about 1 month ago · Like
  11. Larry Tadman
    Larry Tadman gave a $26.37 donation
    Well done Luke. We are all proud of you. Cheers Larry and family
    about 1 month ago · Like
  12. Tyler Collins
    Tyler Collins gave a $104.58 donation
    Hey Luke, Awesome job. Running has helped me out a lot in my life as well. Happy to support a good cause. Congratulations
    about 2 months ago · Like
  13. Jessamyn Flynn gave a $30 donation
    Good luck Luke!
    about 2 months ago · Like
  14. gerry tadman
    gerry tadman gave a $26.37 donation
    you should start from the top - downhill is easier
    about 2 months ago · Like
  15. Keith Smith
    Keith Smith gave a $20 donation
    about 2 months ago · Like
  16. Gord & Linda McNevan
    Gord & Linda McNevan gave a $104.58 donation
    Proud of you Luke for taking on this physical challenge & your personal challenge the way you are. We believe you can overcome them both & are happy to support you in this small way. All the best with your training & say hello to your mom & dad for us. You can do it!!! Peterborough is rooting for you!!! Gord & Linda McNevan.
    about 2 months ago · Like
  17. Ellen Lueck
    Ellen Lueck gave a $26.37 donation
    about 2 months ago · Like
  18. Cori Lawson
    Cori Lawson gave a $25 donation
    best of luck with this great endeavor. If there is anyone that can do - it would be you. take care
    about 2 months ago · Like
  19. Barry Driscoll
    Barry Driscoll gave a $52.44 donation
    Good thoughts and support to Lucas from East City.
    about 2 months ago · Like
  20. Stephen Brown
    Stephen Brown gave a $50 donation
    Good luck, Luke!
    about 2 months ago · Like
  21. tracey caville
    tracey caville gave a $52.44 donation
    Your Story inspires me to donate and to help break the silence of depression. Peterborough is proud of you and here to support you.
    2 months ago · Like
  22. Christopher Dummitt
    Christopher Dummitt gave a $26.37 donation
    All the best Luke! From Chris, Jules & family
    2 months ago · Like
  23. Adam Rush gave a $208.86 donation
    Good luck Luke!
    2 months ago · Like
  24. Linda LeBlanc
    Linda LeBlanc gave a $50 donation
    Thank you for sharing your bravery is amazing
    2 months ago · Like
  25. Andrew  Holden
    Andrew Holden gave a $26.37 donation
    Dedication In Memory of: Chris Holden
    2 months ago · Like
  26. Don Spink
    Don Spink gave a $104.58 donation
    Your story is inspiring. It took a lot of courage to share your revelatory experience with BDS. Best of luck on your run!
    2 months ago · Like
  27. Brent Goulding
    Brent Goulding gave a $158.36 donation
    There is only one Lucien. You are an inspiration with every breath. Thank you for being you.
    2 months ago · Like
  28. Bill Kimball
    Bill Kimball gave a $52.44 donation
    2 months ago · Like
  29. Amanda Walsh
    Amanda Walsh gave a $50 donation
    2 months ago · Like
  30. Dorothy McCord
    Dorothy McCord gave a $26.37 donation
    2 months ago · Like