(CBS4) – The coronavirus has upended life as we know it and, like many, teenagers are struggling with isolation and anxiety. Two high students are taking this time to spread awareness about mental health by running a marathon over the course of 26 hours.
“It’s called a broken mile,” explained Jared Green, a senior at Arapahoe High School. “We run one mile at the top of every hour until we get to 26.2 miles, which is a marathon.”
Green and his friend Jack Dooley are running to raise awareness about mental health, as their school has seen a high number of students suicides in recent years.
“Mental health in the last four years at Arapahoe has certainly been something a lot of people are struggling with and we want to erase that stigma,” Green said.
The two young men know many fellow students are struggling as seniors have spent their last semester isolated because of COVID-19.
“Jack and I are running to inspire people to find some joy during this quarantine time,” Green told CBS4.
Specifically, each mile they run is to raise money for the Nick Bales BTR Foundation. Bales was a senior at Arapahoe when he tragically took his own life in 2018. His parents have since started the foundation to financially help kids access the support they need. They also encourage non-traditional therapy that encourages kids to cope through activities they enjoy like art or wilderness adventures.
“The BTR Foundation has spread so much awareness about mental health,” Dooley said. “They really have helped ups through a lot of hard times so we want to find a way to give back by raising awareness and money.”
Among those cheering the boys on through their broken mile was the Bales family. Maria Bales, Nick’s mom, said meeting teenagers who are helping to share her family’s mission is an inspiration.
“When you see that, and you see them coming out and remembering the BTR has made a big impact and Nick has made such an impact, it just gives us so much hope that were getting the message out there,” she said. “It’s hope.”
Dooley and Green are also raising money for the foundation though their running. They have raised $6,000.
“The BTR Foundation and just all the community support has really been what has pushed us through the tough times running this marathon,” Dooley said.
See video from the teens’ final mile in the clip below: