by Sam Harper
In January, Todd Becraft, an English teacher at Madison JH devoted himself to running a marathon. Running a marathon was actually a goal he had made for himself almost 20 years ago. His goal was to run a marathon by the time he was 45. This year, he was 44, so time was running out. Finally, on September 4, 2021, he ran a marathon.
He decided in January to make his marathon to also serve a purpose. This purpose was to raise awareness for mental health and suicide prevention. He decided to call it “Run To Tomorrow.”
Mr. Becraft ran his marathon at Porter Park in Rexburg Idaho. He started early in the morning and planned to finish that same day. The marathon consisted of many different mile loops. The marathon was the normal length of 26.2 miles.
During the marathon Mr. Becraft injured himself many times, from broken bones in his feet to his shot knees and destroyed ligaments; he still pushed through. After a painstaking day Mr. Becraft had one lap left till the finish. He felt he should sprint for the last lap. Though it was what he considered a sprint, he wasn't moving that quickly at all. Mr. Becraft said “I was nervous I wasn’t moving fast enough to tear through the finish line.” He says it was a stupid thing to think at the time.
During the marathon he always had someone running with him. From a 10 year old to a professional marathon runner and even his own daughter. Mr. Sorensen, another teacher from MJH, ran for a while. Some people even came from Utah. They felt so strongly about the topic that they came all the way here. During the run Mr. Becraft heard multiple stories from other runners about how suicide had affected their lives.
Mr. Becraft has dealt suicide in life as well. He’s lost multiple members of his family to it. He has been affected very strongly. He doesn't want others to suffer and feel what he has. He is frustrated that the topic of mental health and suicide are ignored. It is not an open topic at school, and because of that, people having these feelings don’t know what to do. When students hear a friend say, “I’m gonna kill myself,” they don’t know what to do. They don’t tell any adults or they don't take it seriously and don’t know how to prevent it. Because of it we are losing students. The suicide rates in Idaho and in Madison county in general are way too high, so Mr. Becraft decided to do something. So he ran a Marathon to get attention.
And it worked. An old dude like him, running in a marathon. People like watching others suffer right? No, people came to support this incredibly important prevention of mental health and suicide. Mr. Becraft was nervous nobody was going to show up, but instead he had tons of people come out to support him. His marathon was a great success. It was such a success that it looked like it will be happening next year and in many years to come.
Grand Peaks Medical, a dental and medical company in Rexburg, has decided to sponsor Mr. Becraft’s run. Next year there will be food, vendors, speeches, and many other things, all paid for by Grand Peaks Medical. Mr. Becraft will not run in the future because he physically can't again. There will still be runs, but much shorter. At night, people who have lost someone to suicide will light a lantern in their honor. The goal is to have this event go on until suicide and mental health rates have dramatically gone down or are pushed down to zero. This event was a huge success and will progressively get better and grander. Thank you Mr. Becraft for all you've done.