The Genesis of 1 Day for the CMHA

Physical challenge, the outdoors, and helping others. These are three things that I am passionate about and in 2009 I found a way to combine all three for an annual adventure.

I hung up my rugby boots in 2006 after playing with the Canadian Men’s National Team for 6 years. At that point I realized my life had split into two distinct parts – 'Rugby Life' and 'Post Rugby Life'. Training during 'Rugby Life' was easy because there were always new motivational goals, lots of people to yell at you to keep going, and a body that wasn’t falling apart, well, sort of! In 'Post Rugby Life' I worked out in the gym and mixed in some short runs now and again but the intensity level paled in comparison to 'Rugby Life'. I quickly realized that I needed to create my own goals and I guess start yelling at myself!

After moving to Calgary from Victoria in the summer of 2008, I spent lots of time in the mountains. It seemed to be the replacement for the ocean and I soon became a weekend warrior trying to fit in all sorts of Rocky Mountain hikes.  I could feel a personal challenge taking shape and I decided to test my hiking abilities in summitting four mountains in one day. The mountains I chose were four of the most recognizable peaks in Banff – Tunnel – Rundle – Cascade – Sulphur. I now had a challenge so what’s the cause?

I had participated in my fair share of 5 and 10k fundraisers, always for great causes, but Mental Health seemed to be overlooked by mainstream fundraising efforts. Why wasn’t there a recognized event to raise money in support of those suffering from mental illness? There were people in my life that suffered from different mental health disorders so when deciding on a cause it was an easy choice, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA). Mental illness remains relatively hidden from mainstream recognition and there is a lingering stigma that continues to pervade attitudes toward mental health. My goal is to raise money in support of mental health as well as an ongoing awareness of its prevalence in society. 

By combining the challenge and the cause my first event was born:
1 Day for the CMHA – 4 Mountains 2009