2020 may be a year of disruption, but for Napier local Jean-Fabien
Barrois it’s been pretty routine.
routine has seen him devotedly don his purple Mental Health
New Zealand t-shirt every morning, pull on his sneakers and
set of for a 5km run to raise money and awareness for the
disorder that will affect one in six New
“I had a crazy idea last November to do
something a bit different to raise some money for mental
health” says Jean. “I wasn’t the fittest or the
fastest, but I liked the idea of running being a way to link
physical health with mental health.”
France but now a resident of Napier South, Jean is a
software developer whose work is very sedentary. For desk
workers, being physically active and enjoying the fresh air
is an important way to stay mentally alert when you don’t
get that naturally in your day job. Jean believes that
looking after your mental health is a priority for
“Throughout my life, I came across people
suffering from various mental health issues – depression
being probably the most common one around. These issues are
so widespread that we can all think of someone we know with
at least one of these conditions. Besides being a good
friend with an attentive ear, or a reliable relative one can
count on, there’s not much I can do. That’s why I decided
to try and help Mental Health New Zealand, they have the
networks and knowledge to help reach further than I can do,
and need money to do so,” says Jean.
original goal was to run 1830 kilometres, or the distance
between Whangarei and Invercargill, based on 5 kms for every
day of 2020, and raise $1830, or a dollar for every km.
Every dollar raised goes directly to Mental Health New
Zealand via a Givealittle page called ‘Running for Mental
His work mates at IQualify have got right
in behind him. They have been baking scones and making
pulled pork and bao buns for shared lunches, where in lieu
of payment, recipients donate to the cause.
Mental Health awareness week kicking off on 21 September
Jean is now just $100 short of his goal. But he has plans to
keep going. “I need to keep running for over three more
months, so my new target will be to raise $2020 for mental
health to honour this very memorable year!”
all the apparent drudgery of a daily jog it has indeed been
a memorable journey for Jean.
There have been stray
dogs, dive-bombing seagulls and magpies to deal with and he
has also had to contend with COVID-19 cancelling the
Hawke’s Bay Marathon not once but twice.
planned to bank some serious kilometres in the half marathon
and of course use the event to raise even more awareness and
money for mental health” says Jean. But that didn’t stop
him: a hamstring injury almost did though.
up the injury in May – it slowed me right down to a walk
at times, but with good physio I managed to fight it off by
June to get back on track”.
So if you see Jean out
and about running his route around Napier South and Marine
Parade give him a toot or a wave. You’ll have to be keen
eyed though; now running at a personal best of 22 minutes,
and departing at 6.30am each morning, Jean is soon back at
home to wash and dry that one and only purple t-shirt ready
to do it all over again the next morning.
a wave though, is a dollar or two to show Jean that you are
behind his mission, and the mission of mental health
awareness in New
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