10th Marathon for Mental Health Awareness for Run Over Depression Founder, Jim Shoopack

By Jayne Ann Bugda | jbugda@pahomepage.com

Published 04/01 2014 01:25AM

Updated 04/01 2014 01:40AM

  Jim Shoopack and his “Run Over Depression” organization will be participating in the Garden Spot Village Marathon in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania on Saturday, April 12th.  The organization’s founder will be partaking in his second marathon of the 2013-2014 season, and first of 2014 to help promote the causes of the organization – those of helping to put “a face on the name” of mental illness, in particular depression; and to also remove the stigma behind mental illness.  Shoopack, who himself battled clinical depression in 2001, will be participating in his 10th overall marathon at Garden Spot Village. “It is an honor and blessing to be able to bring the message of “RunOver Depression” to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania,” said Shoopack.  “I’ve always been very fond of the peace and serenity of Lancaster County, and always love coming to visit.  My wife and I have always enjoyed ‘getting away from it all’ to clear our minds in this area, so when the opportunity to bring the message of the organization to the area became a possibility – I knew it was meant to be.”

Shoopack is encouraging any and all organizations that work to support and educate regarding mental health and mental illness to join him in his crusade.  He asks that they please contact him via e-mail or his organization’s website: www.RunOverDepression.Com.  He can also be reached by phone at: 570-350-6210. 
  The 39-year old Stroudsburg native suffered through a terrible bout with clinical depression in 2001.  The episode began in February and continued until May, when a friend of Shoopack’s who had been clinically depressed mentioned to him that he was demonstrating many of the symptoms.  Upon visiting his family doctor, Shoopack was finally diagnosed and treated through medication and talk therapy.  He is now determined to get back the “100 days in hell” he suffered due to depression by participating in and completing 100 marathons in his lifetime for the causes of promoting mental health and removing the stigma of mental illness. It is believed that his depression may have been caused due to a chemical imbalance that was already present because of a seizure disorder that he has.
  The Garden Spot Village Marathon begins at 8am at the Garden Spot Village Campus in New Holland, PA.  As per the marathon’s official website, “the race starts…by the Legacy Garden and travels east for about 2 miles.  It then circles around west through the Amish farmlands at the foot of the Welsh Mountain for approximately 12 miles before looping back to campus.”  Shoopack hopes to finish the marathon, “between 5:30 to 6 hours.”  The runner will be wearing the trademark, “RunOverDepression.Com” yellow shirt with black lettering.
This will be the first time that Shoopack has participated in Garden Spot Village Marathon.  He has also participated in Scranton’s Steamtown Marathon four times (2005-7; 2013), Pocono “Run for the Red” Marathon three times (2006-8); Harrisburg Marathon (2006) and Philadelphia Marathon (2005) for the causes of promoting mental health and removing the stigma behind mental illness.  He also hopes to participate in the May 18th Pocono “Run for the Red” Marathon in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania and in the June 21st Xterra Big Elk Marathon in Elkton, Maryland.
“If all goes well, I’d like to complete three full marathons in three months,” said Shoopack.  “Before I was ever depressed, I would have never even considered running a marathon.  During my worst days when I was clinically depressed, just getting out of bed and taking one or two steps made for a very successful day.  Overcoming depression gave me a totally different perspective on what was possible and it was then that I realized nothing is impossible if you work hard enough.  I don’t expect others to participate in three marathons in three months, but I would like to take the initiative to let those suffering silently from mental illness know that they just need to take one small and steady step at a time.  Things will get better.  Nothing is impossible.”

(Information from Jim Shoopack

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