Stacey Huebner, running the London Marathon in her dad’s memory

Françoise Facella
Communications & Events Officer
Stacey running

My name is Stacey Huebner and I am a Gifted & Talented school teacher at Broadmoor Elementary in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA.

Over the course of the last six years, I have run ten marathons, including Twin Cities Marathon (Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN), Grandma’s Marathon (Duluth, MN), and The Boston Marathon. Running the London Marathon has been on my ‘bucket list’ and a dream for some time now and it’s an absolute honour to be running it this year for The Mix as part of team Heads Together.

“Running is my mental health saviour and has changed my life.”

My running passion began with my dad who was an avid runner, my running partner and my dear friend. At the tender age of seven, he was among the first in the state of Minnesota to undergo open heart surgery for a congenital heart defect. Doctors told him he would never be able to play sports. As my dad grew older, he began to exercise and even started jogging in his mid-thirties. By age 36, he ran his first and only marathon. I will never forget that day. I learned an important life lesson, even the “impossible” is possible.

My own running story began in senior year of college as a way to cross train for ice hockey and softball.  At first, it was just a means to keep in shape for “real sports”. However, soon running became a passion of mine.  It gave me much needed time to think, clear my mind, solve problems, release stress and stay in shape. My dad and I used to run in the wee hours of the morning. We would have amazing discussions about anything while we jogged along the lakes of Minnesota.

My life changed beyond belief fourteen years ago when I lost my dad after he came home from a wintery, snowy morning jog. I was devastated. Without running, I’m not sure I would have mentally survived losing him. I remember those first runs without my dad. I struggled to just get out the door, often shedding tears as I travelled those familiar routes we used to enjoy so much. For a while, I quit running as it was just too painful but, with time, I began to see the light. Each time I lace up my shoes, my dad still runs with me. He always will. Each step I take, I heal a little more.

“Each mile I run is therapeutic. It brings me clarity and peace for this long run we call life.”

Young people today face enormous challenges. Being a teacher, I see the need for heightened awareness for mental health on a daily basis. Our youth need our help and support. And our veterans, some still well under 25 years old, who have so proudly served our countries are facing much more than physical healing but have mental health mountains to climb. We need to address and change the perceptions surrounding mental health and make the mental health discussions a natural and obvious one.

I believe in The Mix and their mission to help provide support for young people. I feel it is important to have resources available to young people in the form they feel most comfortable with. The fact support can be found through The Mix website, YouTube, and on the phone allows youth to find answers and assistance necessary to make the right choices in their life.

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Published on 22-Feb-2017