West Kelowna woman runs 100 kilometres for Mental Health fundraiser

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A West Kelowna woman is opening up about her own struggles with maintaining her mental health during the pandemic. While also raising funds for the Canadian Mental Health Association and she took on a herculean physical challenge to do so. Community reporter Sydney Morton has more – Nov 29, 2020

There’s nothing like an icy dip in Okanagan Lake the day after running 100 km, at least for ultramarathon runner Melissa Gosse-Sinclair.

“The legs are a little sore so I’m doing a lot of recovery today hence the polar dip,” said Gosse-Sinclair.

Saturday, Nov. 28 the runner left from Prospera Place in Kelowna at 6 a.m., ran to Vernon, then turned around and ran back again; covering 100 km before 7 p.m. the same day.

“In the beginning, you get excited you’ve got the nerves and you are running out then you hit that first wall at some point. Where it’s like, ‘Holy smokes I am only 20 km in and I still have 80 km more to go,” said Gosse-Sinclair.

Gosse-Sinclair is no stranger to ultramarathons. She has competed around the world in Canada, the U.S., South America, Madagascar – and now the Okanagan.

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Read more: West Kelowna woman set to run 100km to raise awareness for mental health

This most recent challenge is a way to raise funds and awareness for the Canadian Mental Health Association.

“I think a lot of times we think this definition of strength is always keeping it all together and I learned quickly this year that’s not the strongest you can be. It’s actually when you are vulnerable, it takes a lot of strength,” said Gosse-Sinclair.

Read more: B.C. teen finishes ultramarathon for food bank after brief hospitalization

Like a lot of people, Gosse-Sinclair has had a rough year in 2020. On top of the pandemic, she was in a serious car accident and she lost a friend to suicide. These struggles are what prompted her to help others.

“Having a cause that is tied so closely to my heart helped a lot,” said Gosse-Sinclair. “It’s definitely one of the more mentally strong runs that I have had in a long time.”

The gruelling race is over for Goss-Sinclair but the need for mental health resources continues, so donations are still being accepted to her fundraiser online.