On Oct. 11, college sophomore Will Huebner will lace up his sneakers on Main Street to run the Boston Marathon for a crucial cause: mental health.
Huebner is running to raise money for the Mental Health Collaborative, an organization founded in July of 2019 by local therapist Abbie Rosenberg.
It’s a cause that hits close to home for Huebner in more ways than one.
“My mom is a therapist so I’ve always been around mental health and always learned about it and the importance of it and I’ve had family members and friends who have had their own struggles with mental health,” Huebner said. “I’ve had my own struggles as well.”
Raising money for an organization such as the Mental Health Collaborative (his donation page can be found at givengain.com/activist/408823/projects/40040) is important because of social stigmas regarding mental health care, and Huebner’s experiences highlight this.
“Whenever I’ve had any sort of issues with mental health my mom has always been there for me, but she’s also recommended getting my own therapist,” he said. “At first, I was skeptical about it because there’s always this stigma around it, but over time I came to learn that it’s OK to ask for help and that asking for help is a strength, not a weakness.”
Huebner, who ran cross country and track at Hopkinton High School, was the one who got the ball rolling by reaching out to Rosenberg, a family friend.
“Since I was really young I’ve always wanted to run a marathon,” he said. “So I looked into training methods for the marathon and how I could get a number. I knew that Abbie Rosenberg and my mom started this nonprofit, and I asked if they could apply for a [charity] bib number. Luckily we got one.”
Of course, receiving the number was just the start of the rigorous process it takes to prepare for the 26.2-mile run. He originally was going to run last year, but circumstances — in the form of COVID-19 — changed everyone’s plans.
“I use a method called the Hanson marathon method and with that program I’m running six days a week which is a combination of long runs, speed workouts, tempo workouts, strength workouts, and easy runs in between the tougher workouts to build up mileage.” Huebner explained.
Rosenberg welcomed Huebner’s enthusiasm for her organization.
“I’ve known him since he was probably in kindergarten, and he’s been very committed to this and very dedicated, which is so impressive for a college student with all the training,” she said. “He’s just extremely committed to hearing about the organization’s mission and raising money to help spread our mission.
“I’m just very proud of Will for what he’s committed to doing and I’m very grateful to the town of Hopkinton for the opportunity to have a marathon number. I’m excited to bring our programming into Hopkinton and beyond.”
With donations as well as awareness, Rosenberg hopes MHC (mentalhealthcollaborative.org ) will be able to make a difference in more people’s lives. The program already was accepted to be implemented into the curriculum at Hopkinton Middle School this year.
“It’s just so much pressure on parents and children and everyone in the workforce, there’s just so much pressure around all of us,” she said. “I’m just hoping with education and support we can make an impact on people’s level of stress and their mental health.”