Community Trail Running
Community Trail Running
Ep. 83 Prioritizing mental health. With Evan Birch

Ep. 83 Prioritizing mental health. With Evan Birch

The Calgary runner wants to share his story to help anyone and everyone

“There's a lot of people that talk about running being their therapy, and the the line that I like to use now is running can be complementary to therapy. But I think, you know, seek it out. Seek out support in any way, shape or form. If you feel as though you're alone in this, you're not. It's shared experience. We're not meant to do this alone. We're not meant to do it in isolation. Mental health (issues), all these things that people experience, it wants us alone. So don't let it get you alone.”

Evan Birch is an ultra runner and former emergency first responder in the dispatch communication field. The trauma from that job took its toll on Evan, who eventually found himself having panic attacks at work (or in his car in the parking lot at work) due to the overwhelming stress of the job. This led him down a mental health journey of self-discovery that’s been difficult but rewarding for the Calgary runner. Not only has he been able to get a handle on his mental demons, he’s been able to share his story and help others understand that it’s OK to not feel OK.

Evan is running the “Speed Project” starting on Monday, March 25, which is a solo venture from the Santa Monica Pier to Las Vegas. He’s doing this to raise funds for “Bigger than the Trail” which advocates and raises money for mental health. He’s looking forward to the challenge of running 300 miles as well as the opportunity to raise some money for a cause near and dear to him. All of this allows him to accomplish his goal, which is to help anyone he can so they don’t struggle like he did.

“I've said it multiple times, even if one person seeks out help or care or some other form of reaching out to anybody, it doesn't have to be therapy it can be a friend, it can be a family member, not all of us need therapy I recognize that, but just some form of support. I've had so many people in the few talks that I've done on my journey coming up to me and saying “me too” and giving me a hug. There's so many moments or people messaging me saying, “you know I listened to your podcast episode and you know I actually went and reached out for therapy for the first time ever today because of what you talked so openly about.”

I’m so grateful that Evan had the time to come on and chat and that he’s such an open book about his mental health. It’s awesome to have someone who wants to help folks as much as he does, and championing such a great cause is something I really love to see. I hope you enjoy the episode as much as I do and if you’re struggling, that’s OK! You can always reach out, I’m here.

Alberta tickets available!

I’m incredibly excited to be able to hang out with more of you and share the film festival vibes. Our dates are:

Tuesday, June 4, 2024, Edmonton (Garneau Theatre) $25 (Early birds sold out in just over 72 hours!)

Wednesday, June 5, 2024, Calgary (Globe Cinema) $25

Thursday, June 6, 2024, Canmore (Partnering with artsPlace) $25 (members receive a discount)

Friday, June 7, 2024, Crowsnest Pass (Blairmore) (Frank Slide Interpretive Centre partnering with Sinister Sports) Limited (75) $25 tickets on sale now

Click on the links above for the FB event pages to keep up to date. Keep an eye peeled for official announcements as we will let you know the moment these become official and tickets are listed for sale. I’m so pumped to hang out with you all!

Please share the podcast anywhere you post :)

Vancouver Trail Running Film Festival tickets available

Thursday, April 4, 2024. The Rio Theatre. Doors at 6, show at 7.

Sheena’s Burlesque is in the house as our opening act…

Bring your noisemakers!

I’m so excited to host all of you amazing trail runners once again here in Vancouver, BC, and to have Sheena’s Burlesque producing our opening act! Meadow Phorical, Ronnie Canela, Sugar Lestrange, and Sheena herself have been working hard on the routine, themed “welcoming a new trail runner” and it’s a blast. We can’t wait to share it with all of you at the Rio Theatre Thursday, April 4, 2024. The doors open at 6 and the show starts at 7. We’re gonna do it bigger and better than last year and give this thing a festival vibe!

We have amazing sponsors lined up once again, we’ll have some great giveaways, an awesome guest, and we will be announcing our show opener that you’ll want to make noise for. Bring your cowbells, tambourines, or whatever you have to get loud, and let’s rock the Rio together!

Tickets are on sale now for $30/$35 at the door.

Our local sponsors:

5 Peaks

Coast Mountain Trail Running Conquer the Vedder

Distance Runwear

Ridgeline Athletics

Peaks N Valleys

Beast of Big Creek

Heads or Trails



Mum’s the Word

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Music by Paolo Argentino from Pixabay

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If you enjoy this podcast, I would really appreciate it if you could like, share, subscribe, or comment! I’m trying to make this the best trail running podcast it can be and I certainly appreciate your time. Thank you all and happy trails :)

Community Trail Running
Community Trail Running
A 15-minute (ish) trail running podcast featuring informative and entertaining guests. Trail running is inclusive, adventurous, and fun. So is this podcast. This podcast is part of the Community Trail Running newsletter and extends the trail running community for your listening pleasure.