James Henry Ransom Holds Virtual 5k to Promote Mental Health

From+left+to+right+Shruti+Marada+%2811%29%2C+Lillie+Ransom+%2810%29%2C+and+Taylor+Zienblach+%2810%29+help+participant+out+by+handing+them+their+running+bibs+and+giving+them+the+4th+annual+James+Henry+Ransom+5k+shirt.+While+the+run+is+still+going+on+right+now%2C+on+November+24th%2C+the+foundation+held+a+%22kick-off%22+day+for+the+run.

Jack O'Connor

From left to right Shruti Marada (11), Lillie Ransom (10), and Taylor Zienblach (10) help participant out by handing them their running bibs and giving them the 4th annual James Henry Ransom 5k shirt. While the run is still going on right now, on November 24th, the foundation held a “kick-off” day for the run.

Jack O'Connor, Co Editor-in-Chief

Despite all of the setbacks the pandemic  has caused, the James Henry Ransom Foundation is still striving to destigmatize mental health in our society. For the last four years, the foundation has held an annual 5k run to promote positive physical and mental health, and this year is no different.

The original purpose of the run was to find a way to both bring public awareness to mental health and at the same time encourage physical health within the community.

“The run was started as a way to get our community out and active. When my brother James was struggling, the thing that seemed to help him the most was physical activity, and we wanted to draw attention to the link between physical and mental health by providing an opportunity for our community to experience it,” said James Henry Ransom Foundation Youth Board member and sophomore at SJHHS, Lillie Ransom.

In order to follow CDC Guidelines and encourage social distancing a few changes needed to be made to the run. For starters, this year’s 5k run would be held “virtually” and instead of having the traditional start time, participants could begin whenever they wished to.

When my brother James was struggling, the thing that seemed to help him the most was physical activity, and we wanted to draw attention to the link between physical and mental health by providing an opportunity for our community to experience it”

— Ransom

“This year you can run at your own pace throughout your neighborhood or wherever you want. We’re using an app called MapMyRun that you can use to track how far you’ve run, we have the regular 5k course set up for people on the app if you want to run along the sidewalks of the course, too.,” said Will Thrall, junior at SJHHS and James Henry Ransom Foundation Youth Board member.

In addition to the changed course, changes were made to protect the safety of the volunteers and participants in the run.

“We had a kick off ‘day’ on Saturday, October 24th, where people could walk or run the course and were able to remain socially distanced. In addition, all of our volunteers wore masks and used hand sanitizer,” said Ransom.

For those who participated in  the run, was still an overall enjoyable experience despite the differences.

“Some of my friends and I did the run and it was a lot of fun. We were all just messing around and running on the trail having a good time,” said Evan Heckler, a junior at SJHHS.

The extended deadline to complete the race also had some additional benefits as it has allowed people with a busy schedule who wouldn’t normally be able to participate, to run this year.

“I think it’s really great for people who might have to work or go to school, because they get to run on their own time,” said Thrall.

While the annual 5k is what they are most known for, that isn’t everything that the foundation does. From increasing mental health resources in the area to constructing a teen center in Ladera Ranch, the James Henry Ransom Foundation has a lot planned for the future.

We have an event coming up with the Wellness and Prevention Center called “Together” and that’s going to be on November 10-12. It’s going to focus on pursuing your passions, self care, and more

— Thrall

“James Henry Ransom Foundation has been named as one of two community partners with UC Irvine in its efforts to bring comprehensive mental health resources to Orange County. We have committed to significant contributions to the program, both in participation and money, which will ultimately include a teen center of some sort in our community,” said Ransom.

Many of the upcoming events and activities that the James Henry Ransom Foundation are hosting are set up to help promote positive mental health within the community.

“We have an event coming up with the Wellness and Prevention Center called “Together” and that’s going to be on November 10-12. It’s going to focus on pursuing your passions, self care, and more,” said Thrall.

“We will be underwriting teen peer counseling certification classes through OC Wellness and Prevention Center in which high school kids can become peer counselors. Depending on the state of our community, we are looking for events we can sponsor at some point over the next year to provide teens with additional opportunities to interact, volunteer, and get physically active,” said Ransom.

With the annual run and everything they have planned for the future, the James Henry Ransom Foundation is continuing to promote positive mental health in our community during these difficult times.