ROYAL OAK — Support for a race that began after a family tragedy continues to grow.
Organizers of the eighth annual Mind Over Matter 5k race, which was started after race founder Julie Farhat’s mother committed suicide, are expecting 1,000 participants to run through the city beginning at 10 a.m. May 4.
Last year, 700 runners participated.
Not only is the highest number of runners expected to turn out at Starr Jaycee Park for the race, but also a record number of sponsors are lending it, and the race’s cause, financial support, Farhat said. Sponsors increased to 24 this year from 14 last year.
“We’re going to have a record level for both,” she said.
The proceeds from the race go to several institutions and organizations studying mental health and promoting mental health awareness, including Know Resolve, an organization looking to prevent youth suicide, said Audra Quinn, the volunteer publicist for the event.
The race has worked to empower a community of people who have been affected by mental illness.
“I don’t think you’d have trouble finding someone who has been touched by mental health problems or suicide,” Farhat said.
The suicide of her mother was devastating to her and her family, Farhat said.
“I remember what it was like that first year and thinking my life is never going to be the same,” she said.
Through the years, she has found comfort in the race.
“It’s very comforting to be around people that understand,” Farhat said. “It’s also very therapeutic to help others through their loss.”
Over its eight years, the event has grown from a citywide event to a national event, as it garners more attention through media and word of mouth.
“Now, we have people and donors from all over the country,” she said.
To date, the race has raised $90,000. Last year’s race raised $16,000.
“This year, I’m thinking it’s going to be closer to $20,000,” she said.
At the same time, the increased number of new participants — who are mostly made up of people recently affected by suicide — is a reminder that the issue is not going away.
“I know that we need to keep doing what we’re doing,” she said.
Those interested in more information on the race can contact race director and founder Julie Farhat at (248) 376-4666 or online at firstname.lastname@example.org.
People interested in registering for the run can do so in person at Royal Oak High school from 5-8 p.m. May 3 or on the day of the race from 8-9:30 a.m. May 4 at Starr Jaycee Park. Registration is $25 for people 18 and younger and $30 for people older than 18.
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