It was a simple concept… at first. We wanted to run one mile every hour for 24 straight hours. I’m not really sure what the genesis of the idea was, but we knew we wanted to do it. And we knew we wanted people to know about it.

The positive mental health benefits of running and exercise have been well documented over the years. Multiple studies have all reached the same conclusion, that regular aerobic exercise such as running helps to reduce symptoms associated with clinical depression. But benefits go well beyond the direct mental health improvements.

Cardio exercises like running, brisk walks and jogging are also associated with improved cognitive function, improved sleep patterns, improved self-esteem, and improved creativity. It’s also directly related to reduced anxiety, weight, aging and even helps the brain heal from substance abuse. It’s not a cure-all for everything, but running certainly is a medication-free option for many of us who suffer from mental health issues.

The 2nd ‘One Mile an Hour – 24’ took place June 7th and 8th at Appoquinimink High School’s athletic facility. And this simple public awareness campaign has now turned into a full-blown community participation event. Nearly 200 people found time to join us for at least one mile to go for a walk, jog or run. Over 1,100 total miles were completed and 20 people did all 24 miles.

During the ‘One Mile an Hour – 24’, we started at the top of each hour and moved together for one mile. The hope was to remind us that feeling blue can happen to anyone and that feelings of depression, anxiety, and even suicide are not to be ignored or silenced but shared in a way that promotes positive healing. If we can walk or run a mile together, we can find we aren’t alone in our struggles.

The first ‘One Mile an Hour – 24’ event, took place in 2018. Over 740 cumulative miles were walked or run, by nearly 140 different people. Seven of us did all 24 that first year. In the two years combined, we have been able to raise nearly $10,000, most of which has been donated to the Mental Health Association in Delaware for their teenage and veteran suicide prevention and education programs. MHA has been a great partner and very supportive of this endeavor.

So why run one mile each hour for 24-hours? We’re not meant to be isolated and we’re not meant to be sedentary. We’re meant to talk and move! The “One Mile’ is about having a conversation and about healing, one mile an hour. Check out www.onemileanhour24.com.

This post was written by Andrew Shearer, creator of the One Mile an Hour event.