TORONTO September 15th 2014. Cory Pagett is excited to be invited back as Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (#STWM) Digital Champion for the 2014 season. He first laced up in 2008 for the annual Pride and Remembrance Run and immediately was caught up in the spirit of running community through Frontrunners, an international LGBT organization. He enjoyed both the encouragement to push himself physically, as well as the ability to forge friendships on and off the trail.
As he continued to increase the distances he ran, he also upped his fundraising efforts for a variety of causes that helped him add meaning to his miles. This year, he is dedicating his run to one of STWM’s Official Charities: Supporting Our Youth (SOY), a program of Sherbourne Health Centre. The aim of this program is to improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and transgendered youth in Toronto.
One other aspect of running that Cory seeks to promote is the benefits for mental health. Having battled with several depressive episodes over the last six years, including one that led to him dropping out of last year’s STWM, he tries to be grateful for each day that his feet feel the earth beneath him — even if there are inches of snow in between the two.
If you want to join him on his journey to the finish line, connect via Twitter @CMDPcomm, and stay tuned for the launch of his upcoming personal blog this fall.
When Running A Marathon Feels Like An Obstacle Course. By Cory Pagett.
“Obstacles are necessary for success because victory comes only after many struggles and countless defeats.” – Og Mandino
If you’re reading this, chances are that you’ve signed up for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Congrats! Perhaps the minute you clicked to register, you started to picture that finish line, the medal around your neck, the celebratory drink (of Gatorade or other liquid of your choice), or the vision of a runner’s body (whatever your image of that may entail).
Now that we have entered the last 40 days before the race, chances are you’ve also experienced setbacks. Injury, self-doubt, exhaustion. I hope that your journey hasn’t involved all of these, but the reality is it may have.
I speak of what I know. Two years ago, I registered for what was to be my first marathon – in New York City! The choice of New York had personal significance for me as an opportunity to reclaim a city where I had experienced a mental health crisis three years prior. If you’ve connected the dots already, two years ago was also when Hurricane Sandy – ultimately – led to the cancellation of the race. After going through the whole range of emotions associated with this tragic event, I returned to Toronto, plotted out a marathon course and ran it on my own. For me, it was a way of honouring those who had supported me, both financially and all of the other various ways, to get to the starting line.
Consider my eagerness then when I was approached to be a digital champion for last year’s STWM. It was an opportunity to “officially” go the distance and to continue connecting with the community that I had formed during the lead-up to New York. I was able to once again look forward to the victory of completing the 42.2 kilometres, this time on home turf.
What I couldn’t foresee is the unwelcome training partner that came in the form of a severe depressive episode. Not leaving my bed, let alone the house to log the necessary steps, I continued to hold out hope of having my feet carry me to the end, regardless of what was happening in my mind. But as the months went by and I changed my entry from the full marathon to the half marathon, visions of a “successful” finish vanished, until I withdrew.
So, for those of you who have faced challenges or are currently struggling in one way or another, know that I am aware that the road to race day does not run in a straight line and that it can be littered with hurdles.
Ultimately, I’ve come to realize that deciding to run a marathon (or any race) requires a leap of faith, to trust that the road will be there for you, after all of the hardships. It also means a shift in mindset – to see each potential obstacle as a way of becoming even stronger, of celebrating the “small” victories, in addition to the original end goal. To my fellow digital champions and readers who have adjusted their distance or withdrawn, I hope that this shift is not an uphill battle in itself.
There’s a classic line of thinking that “third time is the charm”. If this is true, the 2014 STWM is my sure bet, the year when I will cross the finish line, get the medal, enjoy the drink and celebrate my runner’s body. Only one way for you to find out – see you at Nathan Phillips Square on October 19th!