Ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10th, we caught up with the man, the myth, the legend – Dan Price.
This will be Dan’s 6th year as an Official Mo Bro since 2015, the year following Dan trying to take his own life in December 2014. With the help of Movember, Dan has overcome his own battle, working towards his own mental health recovery, while also continuing to follow his passion and purpose of helping and supporting those around him.
Dan saw his passion for running as the perfect opportunity to physically challenge himself, and rally an audience to raise much needed funds for a cause close to his heart. Let’s see what challenge Dan is up to for 2021.
Dan, this Movember you’re pushing things to another level by taking part in Mo Your Own Way. Can you tell us about what you’re doing – we hear it’s a pretty epic run.
Project 205 for Movember is a 205km hiking trail run which starts in Hawks Nest, a little town on the NSW mid-north coast, and travels all the way to Barrington Tops, a National Park mountain range west of Hawks Nest. Generally, people hike the route over 12 days, but my goal is to move as quickly as I can to complete the route in record time, which will mean one single effort, probably without any sleep.
The current record is 46 hours and I expect it will take me 40+ hours given how mountainous the terrain is, accumulating 7,000m of elevation. Project 205 is so much more than an individual effort. I will have an amazing support crew with me to provide food and water at various check points along the route as it passes through campsites, and many of my running mates will join in for different sections to challenge themselves and keep me company. We start the journey on Friday November 5th at 4am.
What does the run represent to you? Can you share the ‘why’ behind this year's challenge?
Project 205 is about community, connection and conversation - more than running. Over the past few years ultra-distance running has gifted me the ability to challenge myself physically and mentally, whilst bringing awareness and community to Movember’s important causes, in particular mental health and suicide prevention.
My passion for this cause comes from my own struggles with mental illness and very luckily surviving a suicide attempt in 2014, and also tragically losing a mate to suicide 3 years ago. I have been able to heal from significant trauma and manage my mental health really well most days, and I want to bring hope to others who are struggling that there is so much life to be lived.
We can thrive after a mental health crisis, I’m an example of this. I now have a great full-time job, an amazing fiancée and two beautiful kids – things I never thought I would have when I was lying in a psych ward in 2014 thinking my life was over, when it was actually only just beginning.
Running can have a positive impact on one’s health, how does running impact your life and specifically your mental health?
Running is so good for me! It is my outlet. Often it allows me time to be with myself, explore how I am feeling and problem solve challenging things that are happening in my life. Running has become one of my top self-care strategies to look after my mental and emotional health, as much as the physical.
I never used to like distance running being a team sport athlete, but after discovering the running community and realising that running can be a team sport if you want it to be, I fell in love with it. So now running is also my connection to a really amazing, healthy community of likeminded people. I had done most of my fitness training on my own for years, so it is great to share the experience with others now (when we aren’t in lockdown that is…!).
With many regions across Australia being in lockdowns due to COVID-19, what motivates you to keep moving?
Motivation is a hard one during lockdown that’s for sure, especially because we moved out of Sydney, from Bondi to the Central Coast, in January this year - I don’t have any mates close by to do shared exercise with. What motivates me is my goals, and if I didn’t have Project 205 on the calendar for November I probably would be really struggling to find that motivation.
Having goals and intentions is so important in all areas of life. I feel grateful for how much passion and purpose I have within me for suicide prevention, because I can tap into it often when I need that extra boost of motivation - especially when I’m feeling exhausted at 4am and it is raining outside. Remembering my why always gets me out the door: I want to help save lives. This is bigger than me, and that is a really powerful thing to be deeply connected to.
Your goal this year is MASSIVE, what advice can you give for novice runners who are just starting out?
I’d encourage people to just start easy and set little goals each week. Whether it be running your first 5km or your first marathon, the fundamental principles are similar. You don’t want to increase your distance or the total time you are running by more than 10% each week. It is a slow process to get the body used to running further and longer.
Remember to enjoy your time running, feel into your body, notice how you are breathing, take in your surroundings and try to keep it interesting. Don’t always run the same route in the same direction as you risk becoming bored.
If you want to get more serious or have bigger goals, I highly recommend getting some support or guidance from a run coach or leader of a run club. The best advice I think I can give is to remember to simile and enjoy the experience. Not every run will be fun, just like life, you will have great days and not so great days – that’s all part of the journey.
Mo Your Own Way lets you take control of how you Mo. It’s the wildcard. You could challenge yourself or others to a team fitness challenge, give something up. Take whatever Mo Your Own Way means to you and run with it. You can find out more about Mo Your Own Way here.
The topics we are discussing may trigger feelings and thoughts that may or may not be expected. If you’re concerned about your mental health, or a mate’s mental health, Movember recommends encouraging them to see a doctor, or to call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
You can also find more places to get help at: movember.com/getsupport.