Photo: Kristy Reimer
Aman on a Mission
Runner Ian Aman.
Ian Aman is taking the term Alberta Strong in a new direction — by running the province north to south to raise awareness about the importance of mental health and mental strength.
While many have crossed the province from east to west, the 41-year-old running coach, endurance athlete and motivational speaker is taking the road less travelled, running from the Alberta/Northwest Territories border 1,600K south to the Montana border beginning on Canada Day. He estimates the journey will take 62 days.
Aman is emotionally invested in the stories he’s sure will be shared along the way.
“There’s a willingness and openness right now for people to start having conversations about what it means to be mentally well,” Aman says.
With the tough times Alberta is experiencing with this summer’s wildfires in northern Alberta and economic woes in the oilpatch, Aman says he believes the timing and route is perfect for his run. “If you’re not mentally well, everything else falls apart.”
Aman took up running in his hometown of Medicine Hat. Running competitively in high school transitioned into a lifestyle as he got older. Now living in Airdrie, Aman works to inspire others through fitness.
Citing the influence of Terry Fox, Aman says it has always been a goal of his to do something that not only tests his endurance but creates a movement along the way.
”It’s always your mind that will beat you,” he says. “Your mind will quit long before your body, if you let it.”
Aman says he has watched family members struggle with mental health issues while also experiencing his own bouts of anxiety. And how does he cope with his mental stress? As always, he goes for a run.
This summer’s Ian Runs Alberta will be his biggest challenge yet, but challenges are what Aman seems to live for.
“It’s a lot of the day-to-day grind that nobody sees that pays off in the end.”
Aman says funds raised along his route will be donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association.