On way to winning 5K run, he got lost

Getting lost didn’t stop Shion Ramsay from finishing first in the 13th Annual Spring Into Action run that set out from InsideOut Health + Fitness studio on Laird Drive on May 26.

Spring Into Action start
SPRUNG: Runners and walkers set out from InsideOut.

“At the start I got a bit confused about where I was going and I actually got lost,” said Ramsay from Markham. His time for 5 km was 25 minutes and 19 seconds.

The route took him through Sunnybrook Park. “I liked the trees they had and the nature there. During the end there was a hill. I didn’t find it too bad because I’ve done other runs with bigger hills, but it did slow me down maybe a little bit.”

The 13-year-old, who thinks he might like to be teacher, wants to run a half marathon in his high school years and eventually a marathon as he enters university.

One hundred and fifty people entered the run, either as runners or walkers. At least 30 volunteers helped keep things organized. The event raised $5,200 for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Spring Into Action winner
VICTOR: Shion Ramsay,13, after the race in which he took first place.

“The [funds raised] are going to the youth program, is my understanding,” said Dr. Niki Fitzgerald, a CAMH clinical psychologist, who also ran. “Mental health is something where there’s a lot more awareness. There’s a lot more community initiatives like this one. It’s creating more awareness about mental health and decreasing the stigma associated with it.”

As for the run, “it was fantastic, a great event. The weather was perfect, and Sunnybrook is always a beautiful place to run.”

Sixteen horses died Victoria Day in a fire at the park’s stables. Before the run, a brief remembrance service was held for the animals.

In a candid interview, Barry H. Samuel, founder of InsideOut and Spring Into Action, said he has, on personal and professional levels, sought out the support of mental health professionals at stages in life.

He said it can be difficult making decisions while dealing with life’s pressures. “We feel like we’re the only ones to make that decision. [It] can be an overwhelming proposition.”

Physical and mental health go together, said Samuel. “The two of them are not separated or disconnected in any way.… Being physically active is one specific way where you can affect feeling good and being strong in your mental resilience.”

At race end participants were encouraged to write down what they were grateful for and stick it on a poster called the Grateful Garden. People said they were grateful for the sun, family, truth, health, freedom and community.

After the race, participants picked up a gift bag with a T-shirt and protein bottle, snacked on apples, cupcakes and burgers, and listened for their numbers in a raffle draw. The top prize was Blue Jays tickets.

Spring Into Action face-painting
NEW LOOK: Heidi Steinman has her face painted by Amy Smillie at the run.