Due to COVID-19 shutting almost everything down around the world in 2020, Canada Border Services Agent (CBSA), Sach Latti found himself in a downward spiral due to his diagnosis of severe depression and anxiety.
“When I got diagnosed, that’s step one. Then I got medication, and then, I think it’s up to the individual how they want to respond moving forward, so, for me, I recognized that I had some issues that I needed to fix. So, I took a step back from life in general, and I was like, I’m going to see a psychologist,” said Latti.
“So, I went to see a psychologist, I still do, went for two, three years, strict, straight, identified some issues that I had and figures out ways to manage those issues, coming up with different strategies of behaviours to manage everything. I was extremely happy that I got diagnosed, I was extremely happy that I got medicated, because now I have reasoning as to why I was a certain way, and with that knowledge, the last year has been clear on where I need to go with my life,” he added.
He found out that running helps reduce stress, so naturally, Latti began running.
Latti gradually began to run more and more each day, but after hearing about ultra-marathon runner, Cameron Hanes, running 42km a day, Latti decided to push his 21km run to two times a day.
Once he realized he was able to run 42km in a day, Latti made the decision to start training for A Run to Remember in which he’d run 100km to raise awareness and funds for veterans and RCMP officers and raise money for them for mental health support.
“I came up with that last year. Because of the pandemic, I was forced to think outside of the box in terms of how to maintain my mental health, and then also my fitness, because a lot of the outlets that I had weren’t available, so I started running,” Latti explained.
“Since I was new to running, I started running quite a bit, and I noticed that I was actually progressing fairly well, and for me also, I need something to motivate me to continue doing something, so I thought what better way to continue motivating myself but also to help other people, I thought of the concept of the Run to Remember,” he added.
Latti set up a GoFundMe in June 2021 with a goal of $10,000 to donate to the BC/Yukon command of the Royal Canadian Legion Foundation. So far, the GoFundMe has surpassed $10,000 and Latti has raised a total of $20,901.
“It seemed like a lot of people were jumping on board to help. There were a couple of people that donated $1000 each,” said Latti.
In preparation for the run on November 7, Latti was running anywhere from 70 to 100km a week.
“So, I’d be running 10km some days and other days 5km, some days 15km, some days 20km, just whatever I needed to do to get those runs in. But the last three weeks or so, I started tapering down the amount I ran so I could save the energy in my legs,” said Latti.
“And then the week leading up to the run, I didn’t work out much, I didn’t run, I tried to get as much sleep as possible, and I tried to eat as much as I could so that I had enough carbohydrates in me and had enough sleep,” he added.
On November 7, 2021 at 12:30 am, Latti embarked on his 100km run in Chilliwack, British Columbia at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Pacific Region Training Centre, and in under 15 hours, reached his final destination ending at the Vancouver International Airport after running a total of 103km.
The route of the run took Latti along the highway and roads. Throughout the 100km, Latti and two men who ran with him had various other people who would join them on the run for 5 to 10km here and there, and then, for the last 20km of the run, Latti was joined by four RCMP vehicles and four unmarked vehicles.
“It was quite a sight to see with all the RCMP blocking off the highways and basically protecting us while we were running,” said Latti.
One of the RCMP officers even told Latti that that moment was the highlight of her career.
So far, since last January, Latti has run about 2600km for his training.
“It is quite a bit considering I never ran before, but I know in order for me to condition my body for a cross-country run, I’m going to need to get up to 4000km to 4500km in a year, so that requires me to really focus and change my training methodology to really be focused on this,” said Latti.
Latti is also slowly making plans to run across Canada in 2025.
“The initial Run to Remember, the 100km, is to see if I can do it, so now that I’ve done the 100km, and trained myself to do that, my next goal is to run across Canada, but I am not ready for that yet because I have to condition my body to that point in 2025,” said Latti.
“So, for the next four years, I’m going to continue doing the Run to Remember, keep training, keep running, and every year in November, I’m going to continue raising money for it, for veterans and RCMP officers. This year, we raised $20,901, so the goal for next year would be to increase that,” he added.
The cross-country run, which he hopes to begin in March of that year in Cape Breton so that by the time he makes it back home around September, it won’t be too cold when he runs through the colder provinces, will take him about six months and he’ll run 6000km, with a goal of 1000km a month.
Right now, in preparation and training for his run across Canada, Latti has slowly started getting back into it.
“I took the last couple weeks to kind of chill out a bit, but now I’m going to start hitting it back up again. So, basically run every day, try to figure out different strategies and improve my running so that’s going to be incorporating some strength and conditioning as well,” said Latti on his training plan.
“So, lifting weights, primarily focused on improving my running. So, I’m going to be incorporating a lot more functional lifting, a lot more leg training, and a lot more running with sprints,” he added.
Logistics still have to be planned out for the 2025 run, but Latti is looking to continue to raise funds and awareness about mental health support among veterans and RCMP officers for it.
“Moving forward, when I do the Run to Remember next year, I might align myself with a different charity, which is called Honour House Society, which helps all uniformed staff, so, not just veterans and RCMP, but they help veterans, RCMP, every police municipality, CBSA, paramedics, everbody,” said Latti.
Throughout this whole experience since his story got out, Latti loves being able to raise funds for mental health support for veterans and RCMP officers because he has a lot of friends in that field of work.
“My favourite thing about this is how tight knit this community is. They’re all really appreciating the effort. Also, it’s helping me too. It’s helping others, but it’s at the same time it’s helping with my mental health, it’s helping with my fitness, and it’s helping me with my anxiety and depression,” said Latti.
“My daughter is four, she’ll be five in May, and I can’t wait to explain this to her when she’s old enough to completely understand, and I want to be able to give this to her, so I want to be able to explain to her the importance of this and explain to her the importance of compassion and service, and I hope she’ll be proud of me one day,” he added.
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