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RRCA Mental Health Guide to Assist At-Risk Runners

Date: 
06/07/2018 - 10:51

Two Runners who participated in RRCA programs later took their own lives

In 2013, the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) acquired both the website RunPro.com and its companion program RunPro Camp. Since taking over this important program designed to assist post-collegiate runners seeking to make the transition to professional running, the RRCA has sponsored sixty athletes to attend RunPro Camp, and further provided twelve of those athletes with a Roads Scholar grant of $5,000 as of 2017.

“Within a span of ten months from 2017 to 2018, we were heartbroken to hear the news that two former RunPro Campers and Roads Scholar grantees had taken their own lives,” explained Jean Knaack, RRCA executive director. “As an organization supporting emerging elites, it can be a challenge to find the best course of action to assist athletes struggling with mental health challenges. We hope our new Mental Health Guide for Athletes and Their Support Network can help at least one athlete in need of a resource to find mental health support.”

The guide was prepared for the RRCA by Rachel Tambling, PhD, LMFT. Tambling, a long-time volunteer with the RRCA, has a background that goes well beyond running and being an RRCA Certified Coach. Professionally, she is an associate professor at the University of Connecticut in the Human Development and Family Studies department. Her research and area of specialty focuses on client engagement and the improvement of therapy outcomes.

For the 2019, RunPro Camp education program, Dr. Tambling will be presenting on the topic of Taking Care of One’s Mental Health, a first-time topic presented at RunPro Camp. This education session will be coupled with a discussion about continuing one’s education while running pro with an eye towards life down the road, post running career. The goal of the RunPro Camp is to encourage, support and provide the tools for more top collegiate runners to stay in the sport, pursue a professional running career so that U.S. performances will continue to improve nationally and internationally.

The RRCA encourages coaches, athletes, agents, friends, family, and loved ones to share this resource with someone they think could benefit from the information. The guide can be found on both RRCA.org and on RunPro.com

If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, act immediately. If there is imminent risk, call 911. For transient thoughts, or for someone to talk to, call the national suicide hotline at 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-SUICIDE. In many areas, dialing 211 will connect you to mental health resources and emergency psychiatric services.

About the RRCA: The Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) is the oldest and largest national association of running organizations and runners dedicated to growing the sport since 1958. The RRCA champions the development of community-based running clubs and events that serve runners of all ages and abilities in pursuit of health and competition. The RRCA’s vision is to see an organized running club established in every community in the U.S. To learn more, visit: www.RRCA.org

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