Bainbridge man to run a marathon a day for mental health awareness

Published 5:33 pm Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Harold Allen can be seen running the sidewalks around Bainbridge during all hours of the day. Lately he has been training for his next 100-mile race or marathon, but in May he’ll be running for a completely different cause.

Every day in May, Allen will run a marathon to raise awareness for mental health. That’s 31 days at 26.2 miles a day, coming out to 812.2 miles when all is said and done.

“I’m going to do the majority of it at night,” Allen said, who spends days working at Memorial Hospital and Manor. “I’m already committed to doing hundreds and hundreds of miles in the dark. I might run 20 miles, go to work and get off, then run 6.2. Just keep it going.”

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Allen hopes to raise money to put back into the Bainbridge community for mental health issues people may be dealing with. Folks can donate an amount per mile, like a penny, nickel or dime, or donate in one lump sum. All proceeds will go to Allen’s cause.

He chose mental health because Allen has his own mental issues and struggles. In 1999, Allen was sentenced to 10 years in prison. The experience was tough and left him with scars, but Allen considers it part of the overall journey. Running seriously for the past five years has been a major way for Allen to overcome the trials in his life, and now he wants to use his favorite pastime to positively influence his community.

He’s helped train runner at Bainbridge High School and has been a part of running clubs in Bainbridge, citing Greg Waddell as his mentor and coach when he first began to take running more seriously.

When the idea first came to him earlier this year, Allen was worried about the strain it would put on his body. He’s used to running great distances and trains for it daily, but 812.2 miles over a month would be tough.

When Allen finally committed to the idea and realized the difference he could help make in Bainbridge, that worry disappeared.

“When I fully committed myself to it, then I was all or nothing,” Allen said. “If I have to crawl, I’ll do it.”

Allen hopes to raise $20,000 to go toward Bainbridge mental health and mental illness treatment. If you’re interested in supporting his mission, you can reach out to Harold Allen on Facebook or by calling (229) 246-8356.