See inside – Check out the video from our 4th Annual BOLD and COLD run in Toronto!
See inside – Check out the video from our 4th Annual BOLD and COLD run in Toronto!
More schools have been hearing about the successes of Team Unbreakable.
Fresh off a Bold and Cold 5k that exceeded fundraising and participation expectations, the plans for Spring 2020 are to double the number of schools from the current 13 to 25. The program is creating a buzz in the community.
New this year is a “Train the trainer” seminar on Dec. 8 at The Runners Academy in Toronto. Current and prospective team leads will be led through the updated materials, taken through drills, and will learn about the neuroscience of running. The University of Toronto’s Mental Health and Physical Activity lab has collaborated with Team Unbreakable to produce new videos and program content for this spring’s training block.
Team Unbreakable is poised for its start up in York Region, while continuing to support old and new programs in Peel, Halton, and Walkerton. “We’re pleased with the growing support and enthusiasm for the program as more schools come on board next year,” said Nils. “It’s a testament to the positive changes we’ve implemented.”
If you’re interested in supporting Team Unbreakable as a volunteer, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
We wish you all a Happy Holidays and a safe and Happy New Year! See you in 2020.
The Toronto Bold And Cold 5k run hosted by Team Unbreakable Nov. 28 was sold out, with 530 people participating. The run also raised over $26,000 which will be used to help improve programming and expand its services to new schools in new communities.
“It was an excellent event and perfect weather. Everyone commented on how they loved it, from the students, teachers, parents and community members,” said Program Director Nils Blondon. There were over 300 participants from Toronto-area elementary and high schools, one from the hospital run therapy teams and a group from York University.
“The support was fantastic, from those who volunteered to help on race day, to those who pledged donations to the runners and contributed materials or supplies. We especially like to thank Anthony’s No Frills in Parkdale for their generous donation of all the food and drinks for the event. They brought a team of about 15 people with them who either ran themselves with family members or helped distribute the bagels, bananas, juice and hot chocolate.” Anthony’s No Frills also supported the costs of having D. J. Elegance entertain all participants with great motivational music.
“We had two Platinum donors in Cynthia Solomon and Patricia Wright who contributed significantly towards our program and we couldn’t have done it without the over 20 members of the High Park Rogue Runners who came out to marshal and hand out medals. Simone Sicard has been a long-time volunteer at our registration desk and Amanda Brown coordinated the food tent for us. Longboat Roadrunners lent us their timing clock and Mark Trenton volunteered once again as our race course lead. Thank you for everyone’s contribution!” said Nils.
Team Unbreakable is busy preparing for expanding its programs in the 2020 winter-spring session and on Dec. 8 there will be a training program for new and existing coaches. If you would like to support the charity’s winter fundraising campaign, the Board of Directors is doubling the impact by matching all donations received. https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/teamunbreakable/
Teacher, author and runner Mardi Michels in on the run in a big way this year. As of November 18 she has completed 852K on the way to her goal of completing 1000K by year-end. “I thought the Unbreakable 1000 challenge was a perfect way to give back what running has given me,” she says. “Physically, I’m in much better shape than I was, but more importantly, I’m in a much better place in my head than I was this time two years ago,” she adds.
The Unbreakable Challenge 1000 asks participants to raise $1000 for every kilometer they run. To read more about Mardi’s journey as she balances the stress of writing a cookbook and why she is supporting Team Unbreakable, Click Here
The Team Unbreakable program could not run without the leadership, dedication and energy of its school coaches. We are conducting interviews with these selfless heroes to the program. Here is an interview and profile of coach Bridget Keroglidis of Chester P.S.:
Tell us a bit about yourself (job title, school you work at, how long you’ve been teaching, etc)
I teach Grade 4 Extended French at Chester Elementary in East York. I have been at Chester since November of 2015 and also live in the neighborhood.
Tell us a bit about yourself as an athlete/runner
I have always been a very active person but my only running experience before adulthood was elementary school track and field. I didn’t do much running after that for about 20 years. In 2016 I thought it would be fun to start running again and challenged my partner to run a 10k with me. I had run a 10k once before having kids and thought it would be a great way for us to be active together. Long story short, that 10k was the last time we ran together. I increased my distance to the half marathon and ran a few of those over the next 3 years before finally tackling the marathon this fall. I decided to work with a coach who helped me achieve my goal while staying healthy and positive!
What attracted you to the Team Unbreakable Program?
The world we live in today has an unprecedented amount of stimulation and information. Children spend a lot of time on screens and life moves quickly. I think children need the opportunity to get outside and move to build their resilience and self-regulation. I know how running affects my mental health and I think it is a great way for my students to get active and take care of their mental health. Mental health is more than just the absence of illness; it is the ability to cope with challenges in life and feel good about yourself and the world you live in.
In what ways have you seen it impact your students?
The most amazing part of Team Unbreakable is watching students set a goal, work towards their goal, and achieve it. Each time they run, it changes their mood and sets a positive tone for the day. Watching them track their progress and accomplish something new is thrilling. The excitement they feel on the event day is incredible and the pride that they feel and the smiles on their faces as they cross the finish line is priceless.
Any cool Team Unbreakable anecdotes you’d like to share?
Some of my favourite moments have been hearing from parents how they have seen their kids change throughout the program. One parent reported an increase in confidence as their child saw themselves improve through practice. Another parent told me that when their child is struggling with something, they remind them they are unbreakable and that helps them work through their challenge. And then there was the Grade 2 student who ran so fast that his 11-year-old brother had trouble keeping up with him! Running changes the way these kids think about themselves and what they can accomplish!
Do you have an interesting “mental health and athletics” story you’d like to share? IE, how running/sport has had a positive effect on your overall wellbeing.
Although I run in part to reduce stress and improve my mood, any runner knows that there are some days that every step feels like a struggle. This past summer I ran a half-marathon in May. It was one of the first hot days of the year and I was in a negative headspace, just wondering why I was putting myself through this torture. I finished the race, but wanted to stop so many times. When I signed up to run my first marathon this fall, I signed up to work with a coach. As I worked with my amazing coach Brittany Moran and the Stridewise athletes, the training was more than just physical. On race day, I was ready physically, but also mentally. I had practiced positive self-talk and I found myself smiling for most of the marathon. Even when I was tired, there was a mantra for that. Running is mental and when we strengthen our mental game that trickles over to the rest of life. I truly believe in the power of positive thinking. And as my coach would say: “positive vibes only!”