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1% at a time: Kearney man runs 85 miles for suicide prevention awareness

Published: Sep. 10, 2020 at 8:54 PM CDT
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - A Kearney came up with a goal of running 100 miles in 24 hours to raise awareness for suicide prevention. While reaching the finish line looked a little different than he imagined, it was a meaningful moment.

Paul Gonzalez set out from the Hilltop Mall Wednesday night. His goal was to run to Holdrege and back to be greeted at Yanney Park Thursday evening. But around noon on Thursday his legs gave out after 85 miles. Even walking the last few steps with crutches, Paul’s message of persevering through tough times remains.

“Maybe they’ll see there is more,” Paul said. “If this guy came from such a bad place and I’m right here, maybe I can actually lift myself up.”

Paul lost a dear friend of his to suicide in 2018. He also was faced with his own struggles with mental health. While looking for motivation during dark times, he found a runner online who inspired him to do just 1% more each day.

“From me laying down in bed I was able to sit up maybe for 10 minutes and the next day I might try 30 minutes, the next day after that I’ll start walking, maybe I can go a little bit more,” Paul said.

He wanted to do this run to raise money for the Central Nebraska Loss Team, Makenna’s Rae of Hope Foundation, and Buffalo County Community Partners Suicide Prevention Coalition. While running along the road he hoped people saw hope in him.

“I just don’t want anybody to go through that process. There might be somebody today or tomorrow that might be on that edge of their seat and maybe if I could reach out to them and say ‘Hey it’s not worth it. That pain that you’re dealing with right now, if you were to give up on your own life it’s only going to carry on to the people that you love’,” Paul said.

He was joined with a group of supporters to take the last steps of his journey to show nobody is ever alone.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

800-273-8255

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