SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — Runner and Helpline Center employee Alex Pool of Sioux Falls set a personal record at the Skedaddle half marathon in Sioux Falls on Sunday.
“It was fantastic,” Pool said. “Great day, great course.”
But those 13.1 miles are only a short journey compared to the 437-mile undertaking he’ll be a part of in September: the 437 Project which will see 12 runners collectively traverse all of South Dakota from west to east.
“The last several years we’ve had a lot of things competing for our mental health, and people’s mental health has taken a toll,” Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken said. “So the 437 Project is really a way to lift up the importance of mental health and suicide prevention for the entire state of South Dakota.”
TenHaken will also be part of the relay.
“The entirety of the funds raised, 100%, go to support the Helpline Center and specifically the work they do with the 988 hotline,” TenHaken said.
“988 is a number that’s in the state of South Dakota,” Pool said. “It’s answered by the Helpline Center. So that’s a number for suicide or mental health crisis. Anyone can call 24/7, any time of day, you can call, chat and text.”
And come September, there are different ways for the public to become involved.
“They can sponsor, they can track us online during those 72 hours that we run across the state,” TenHaken said. “They can also just get involved by sharing mental health resources, suicide awareness resources that we make available as a reason why we’re doing the run.”
“At the Helpline Center, we definitely first-hand see the need for more resources every day and more exposure for the resources that we have,” Pool said.