Guest Writer, Inspiration, Running

Meet the Women from Phoenix Rising!!

A couple weeks ago I wanted to know how to make Still I Run feel more like a community. To do that, I knew I had to turn to the people that make up the community, so I posed the question on our Facebook page.

I got a ton of great responses including athletic apparel, virtual runs, community runs and more and I hope to act on those soon. But one suggestion I got, that I could act on right away, was to get a local team together for the Hope Network One in Five Marathon Relay. This is a relay that’s named for the statistic that one in five adults will experience a mental health condition within a given year. How it works is the first four runners in the relay run a 5-mile loop while the last runner completes a more challenging 6.2-mile loop. Together, the five runners will complete the distance of a marathon.

After a week or so of recruiting runners through the Still I Run Facebook page, five amazing women stepped up to the challenge. Their team name for the relay is Phoenix Rising, which I absolutely love! It stands for a phoenix, rising from the ashes and darkness, to thrive! So, without further ado, here are the wonderful women of Phoenix Rising who will be running on Saturday, May 27 in the One in Five Relay! Please give a big cheer for these amazing ladies!

Tina Stewart

tinaI am remarried to a fellow runner/triathlete and a mother of three great kids ages 21, 18 and 15. I was diagnosed with depression back in 2004 and have been running and doing triathlons since 2010.

Running is my first love and it’s been a positive, healthy outlet that’s given me such strength and courage throughout my difficulties in life. It shows me that with faith, commitment, and hard work, I can tackle anything! Even though I still struggle with depression, I can manage it with better eating and exercise. I have been medication free for six years.

Right now my main goal is to stay as fit as possible as I am “training for transplant”… soon to be kidney donor to a friend this August. In 2019 my goal is to complete a full Ironman!


Debbie Anderson Day

I took up running a year and a half ago after seeing the accomplishments of my husband of almost 10 years. With starting a running journey, I had hopes it would help with my mental/emotional health. I was officially diagnosed with dysthymia in 1998.

We have three girls, ages 6, 15, and 17, as well as a cat, pit-boxer mix, and two greyhounds.

Running has taught me that anything is possible and makes me dig deep to continue fighting and pushing myself to reach my goals. And with that, I will hopefully be completing my first marathon this coming Fall.


Ashley Elizabeth

I have been married to my wonderful husband, Matthew, for 8 years. We have three very busy boys ages 6, 5, and 2.

My running journey began in early 2011 when I decided on a whim to join a friend for a 5K. That 5K was rough and I swore up & down, during the race, that I would never do it again. Fast forward to today and you will see there have been several breaks in my running for various reasons, but I have several more races under my belt. Right now I have over 1,200 miles logged and I’m training for my second Riverbank 25K. Needless to say, I did do it again.

I have been battling depression and anxiety in varying degrees for many years now. Thankfully, running has turned out to be my favorite form of therapy.


Megan Barnard

I’m 26 years old and have been diagnosed as having Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I have been running on and off for the past five years. After my “step” dad passed away I slipped into the worst depressive episode of my entire life; I gave up everything I loved. I isolated myself, gained nearly 50 pounds of unwanted weight, and suicidal thoughts started creeping in again after being dormant for several years.

To try and combat my depression I adopted a 1.5-year-old mutt, named Bailey, as an emotional support animal. Having her around meant getting out of the house more and soaking up that vitamin D! Walking was nice, but it just didn’t drain Bailey’s seemingly unending energy. So walking turned into interval running which turned into full 5k’s. Eventually, I mustered up the courage to sign up for an actual race. Now I run as many as I can with my Bailey (and her new sister, Maizey)!

With the help of meds, therapy, a better diet, and a better support system than ever before, I’ve been able to stick with it longer than I have in the past. My goal for this year is to do a race every other month (six total). By the time I complete this relay, I will have finished SEVEN races with more on the way!!


Andrea Johnson

AndreaMy husband Ron and I have been married for 10 years. We have two dogs and five cats that are like our kids! As someone diagnosed with Severe Depressive Disorder I find running and triathlons very beneficial in helping to maintain positive mental health. I also love to share my story and journey on my blog www.andierunsoffcrazy.wordpress.com

Leave a Reply