Olivia Duwyn reached her goals on the weekend, completing a marathon and blowing past her target of raising $10,000 for child and youth mental health.
“It went really well and I am happy with it,” Duwyn said Monday. “It was really cool just to finish it and realize I had run that far.”
Duwyn, 20, launched her fundraiser in September with the support of the Owen Sound Regional Hospital Foundation, planning to do a triathlon for mental health by swimming, cycling and running as she reached fundraising goals along the way.
Funds raised are going towards the adolescent mental health beds at the Owen Sound hospital, purchasing items including toiletries like toothbrushes and deodorant as well as other needs like crafts, games and books. Duwyn, who has struggled with depression and anxiety, has accessed the program in the past and wanted to give back. She also wanted to promote the importance of being active, which has helped her through her own mental health struggles.
So in early November, Duwyn swam a kilometre in Lake Huron at Sauble Beach when she reached her first $1,000 raised. Not long after that she biked 25 kilometres after passing the $2,500 mark. Originally the 42.2-kilometre marathon was to happen after raising just over $4,000, but she soon realized she was going to reach that mark easily as the community got on board and gave to her cause. So she upped it to $10,000 with plans to train over the winter months and do her run this spring.
With the $10,000 raised, that day came on Saturday, when she set out from Owen Sound’s east side in the morning.
Her route took her through some city streets, before heading out to the Leith and Annan area. The hill from Leith to Annan was admittedly difficult. After doing a loop out there, she headed back into town, where she finished at the Owen Sound hospital.
“It was so hard,” said Duwyn, who just completed her second year at King’s University College at Western, towards the five-year Masters in Social Work degree. She hopes to some day work with children or youth in a hospital setting who are dealing with mental health crises.
“Around 30 kilometres my legs were dying,” she said
But Duwyn said the run was special. Her grandfather Don Wilkinson – himself a Boston marathon finisher – and mother Kerry Wilkinson biked the whole way with her. She received a police escort through part of the city and along the route supporters came out to cheer her on.
“Quite a few people came to the finish and made a finish line, which I wasn’t expecting,” said Duwyn. “I had a couple people join in for the last 10K and I don’t know if I would have made it without their support.”
And the funds have continued to come in through the fundraiser. At last check she was over $13,000 raised, and she now has hopes to make it to $15,000. The fundraiser has remained open at https://www.oshfoundation.ca/olivia-tri/. The foundation office can be reached at 519-372-3925.
“Even today I got more so that is awesome,” said Duwyn.