Lindsay Keenan is a 3rd year student at York University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She is a special young lady who also happens to be a solid student committed to giving back to her fellow students. I first met Lindsay 6 years ago when her mom hired me a as her running coach. About the same time, one of my running clients, Medical Social Worker Dan McGann, was starting a Youth Therapy Running Programme at Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. With Lindsay struggling against social anxiety disorder, she joined one of Dan’s early sessions. Dan contacted me, requesting that I speak to his youth about running safely and efficiently via my Squat-Scoot technique.
This led to an ongoing affiliation with Lindsay, her 2 younger sisters and her parents. As Lindsay got better at running, she was also getting better as to her mental well-being. I observed her transform from a young girl lacking confidence to a young woman excited about a positive future – one that included higher education, running and, yes, giving back. Just before the start of her 2nd year at York, Lindsay decided to open a branch of Team Unbreakable – a Youth Therapy Running programme that spun off of Dan McGann’s Credit Valley Hospital programme. The wheel had come full circle for Lindsay!
As part of her York programme, Lindsay set up a Facebook page, recruited students struggling with similar mental health challenges and organized Team Unbreakable with the blessings of the university. What an amazing accomplishment by an amazing young woman. The curriculum included a series of guest speakers. You guessed it – the old coach was on her speakers’ list. I was only too happy to volunteer my time and present to Lindsay’s Team Unbreakable members – first in 2014 and again one week ago (November 14, 2015). The photos below show the old coach in action – barefoot as usual!
The group adapted quickly and well to my Squat-Scoot technique, running lightly, tightly and quietly (barefoot, of course!) within 20 minutes. The contrast of hearing and feeling themselves run, at first, in their various ‘coffins’ (running shoes) and then, barefoot, was dramatic. Each member immediately gravitated to the safe, efficient style of the Squat-Scoot – to the point when one of the young women asked about the steps to running barefoot! They could not…and DID NOT WANT To – go back to the pounding, noisy, coffin-supported style of running they displayed at the onset of my talk.
I left the group with a series of extensor chain exercises to unlock their hips and improve their balance and posture along with a better understanding of how to brace the body against the downward pull of gravity (a runner’s worst enemy!). More importantly, the group left ME with a better understanding of the importance of physical activity at alleviating mental health challenges.
Here’s to Lindsay continuing to make a positive difference AND to the Squat-Scoot continuing to help runners move safely and efficiently year after year.