Hudsonville native Sasha Wolff, founder of a mental health advocacy group Still I Run, was selected for Hyland’s Powered Community Builder team to run the 2020 Boston Marathon.
Hyland is the official cramp relief sponsor of the Boston Marathon. Its handpicked team consists of athletes who have created a platform, started a movement or launched a foundation that is impactful in the community.
Wolff created the group Still I Run in 2016 after she was hospitalized in 2011 for mental illness.
“Even though I have depression and anxiety, and I want to give up sometimes … still I run,” she said. “When I started the (Facebook) page, I honestly thought only my friends and family would like it, but I was wrong.”
The group has 8,000 people across different social media platforms and 20 ambassadors nationwide who are starting local chapters.
In addition, Wolff is launching a program called the Starting Line Scholarship, which is designed to break down barriers a person might face when running with mental health. The scholarship includes running shoes, appropriate running apparel, a virtual coach and race registration.
“I was ashamed of my diagnosis for a long time,” she said. “I used to be upset that I inherited anxiety and depression. I know that my mental health condition serves a purpose — to help defeat the stigma and help other people find healthy ways to cope.”
The marathon takes place April 20 with a field of 31,500 participants.