Episode 13: Brett Wilcox – Therapist, Runner, and Activist

Brett Wilcox is a therapist in Sitka, Alaska. He lives there with his wife, son, and daughter. Brett’s 15 year old son, David, a runner himself, proposed the idea of the two of them running across the United States to raise awareness of the negative effects of GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms) in our food supply.   They accomplished this earlier this year. I talk to Brett about how he thinks running effects mental health as a clinician, how running effects family life, and how becoming an activist to raise awareness of GMO’s came about.

Brett can be contacted through his website Runningthecountry.com. His book, We’re Monsanto: Feeding the World Lie After Lie is available on the website or through Amazon. His family’s run across the U.S. was incredibly expensive. If anyone can donate to help defray the expenses, please do so through the website as well.


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Episode 12: Roger Joslin on Running the Spiritual Path

On today’s podcast, I interview Roger Joslin, an Episcopal priest in Bentonville, Arkansas. We are continuing along the theme of our last few episodes by discussing the spiritual and meditative effects of running.   While discussing these issues with one of my patients a few months ago, he recommended a book entitled Running the Spiritual Path: A Runner’s Guide To Breathing, Meditating, and Exploring the Prayerful Dimension of the Sport by Roger Joslin. I read the book and found it to be both inspirational and instructive. Father Joslin takes us on a journey along his own path over many years of dealing with emotional and spiritual issues and how his practice of meditative running has evolved.


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Episode 11: Michael Sandler on Mindful Running

On today’s episode, I interview Michael Sandler of www.mindfulrunning.org. Michael has been a professional athlete and has dealt with ADHD. In his search to become a better athlete while on long sessions on the bike, he began to become interested in mindfulness, the practice of awareness. The lessons that he took away from this search helped him quiet the distractions of ADHD and gave him the focus and patience to come back from several life threatening injuries.

Michael and his wife Jessica Lee live in Hawaii. They have recently produced a six-week training program teaching the process of becoming a mindful runner. The program is available through their website.

This was a very insightful and helpful interview that I believe you will all enjoy.




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Episode 10: Marshall Ulrich

On today’s episode of the Running to Mental Health Podcast, I interview Marshall Ulrich. Let me list below some of his accomplishments:

  • Completed 121 ultra marathons averaging over 100 miles each
  • Reached the summit of each of the Seven Summits, including Mount Everest, all on first attempts
  • Competed in all nine Eco Challenge adventure races – something only two other people in the world have done – and has competed 12 expedition length adventure races
  • Crossed Death Valley a record 21 times, including a solo and 586-mile quad crossing
  • Completed a 3,063 mile run across America, equal to 117 marathons in 52.5 days
  • Won the Badwater 146 mile race from minus 282 feet to the 14,494 foot summit of Mount Whitney a record 4 times
  • Finished a record 15 Badwater ultra marathons
  • Completed the Leadville Trail 100 and Pikes Peak Marathon on the same weekend – a feat no one else in the world haa achieved
  • Completed all six 100 mile trail races, finishing in the top 10 in five of them in the same year, the first person to do so
  • Won two silver medals in the national 24 hour championships with a PR of 142 miles.

Is that enough? Well, he has also raised over $839,500 for charity.

We talk about several issues. Marsh’s first wife died of cancer, so we discuss the effect of running on grief. We discuss his views on the effect of getting away from the world (particularly technology) into the natural environment and it’s effect on mental health. We finally discuss the aging process and how it affects running.

Marshall can be reached at his website, www.marshallulrich.com.   He is open to people writing him at marsh@marshallulrich.com.

Please pick up his book, Running on Empty: An Ultramarathoner’s Story of Love, Loss, and a Record Setting Run Across America.


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Episode 9: Dr. Jacqueline Simon Gunn on Running, Psychotherapy, and Spirituality

On today’s episode, I will be talking to Dr. Jacqueline Gunn, a psychologist practicing in New York City. Dr. Gunn and I first got to know each other on the Facebook site. She wrote to let me know that she also used running in some of her treatment and was a long time runner herself. We began to talk about how running is used in therapy and the discussion turned to the spiritual effects of this discipline and how that begins to change a person in their quest to deal with psychological issues.   So, that’s the topic that we will be addressing, even though we’ll get into some other things as well.

Dr. Gunn, as well as being in private practice, is a published author. Her books include In the Therapist’s Chair and Bare: Psychotherapy Stripped.

Dr. Gunn can be reached at her Facebook site, Jacqueline Simon Gunn, and her books can be seen at Amazon.com.



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Robin Williams – A Tragic Loss to This Disease

As have most of you, I have been thinking a lot about the tragic death of Robin Williams since I heard the news yesterday. It is a tragedy to lose such a genius to this insidious disease. It is a tragedy to lose anyone to this disease. A list of friends and patients who have lost the battle over the years runs through my head. Each of them was so loved by those who knew them, but that wasn’t enough.

I had the opportunity to see Robin on two occasions. The first time, he was doing the bike stage of the San Diego Triathlon. The second time, my wife and I saw him in concert in Memphis. Both of us got cramps in our face from laughing so hard. But you could see the depression in his eyes if you looked hard enough.

If you are dealing with depression, please, please, seek help. We are fighting a deadly disease. Please know that you are loved and that help is available.

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Episode 8: Patrick House, Winner of Season 10 of the Biggest Loser

Patrick House won Season 10 of the Biggest Loser. He is from my home state of Mississippi. The boy knew how to eat, like most of us, unfortunately. It’s a classic story of a very good football player, a lineman, getting injured in college and continuing to eat like he did when he was playing. Toping out at over 400 pounds, married and with children, Patrick knew something had to change. In today’s episode, we discuss what led up to the health crisis, the drastic steps to change this, and how he maintains his focus on health now.


Patrick has a new book out called As Big as a House which can be purchased on his website, biggestloserpatrick.com.

Please check your download on iTunes and leave a comment.

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Episode 7: Chris Vargo

Chris Vargo is the 50 mile champion for the United States.  He is a member of the Nike Trail Elite Team and an accomplished ultra-runner.  Chris is also a recovering alcoholic.  In today’s interview, Chris discusses his roots in Indiana, the early days of his drinking, the progression of his alcoholism, and his eventual recovery.  Although being an endurance athlete throughout his active addiction, running has been a vital part of his recovery.  He is committed to helping anyone who has substance abuse problems.

Chris is also a coach for runners of any level from those beginners wanting to finish a 5 K to advanced runners competing at top levels in ultra distances.  He can be reached at Vargorunning.com or vargorunning@gmail.com.

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5K Run for Hannah

First of all, thank you to all the new followers. Welcome to Running to Mental Health. Let me encourage all of you to share your own stories of how running has helped you emotionally and to ask any question that you might have. This site is for you.

Second, and you have heard me say this before, one of the most healing aspects emotionally for us with running is gathering together to help people who are going through difficult times. Runners are some of the most unselfish people that I know.

Last evening, we gathered to run a 5K to help young Hannah who is undergoing treatment for leukemia. My wife, Lori, who is an Ob/Gyn actually delivered Hannah. On top of that, some of my friends with Ainsley’s Angels were there to support Hannah by riding in their chairs for the race. If you haven’t seen my posts about this organization, let me explain. Ainsley’s Angels pushes people who are not able to run in chairs through a race. They are the Captains and the pushers are the Angels. We have a very active group of racers here.

It doesn’t get any better than that; those Captains who can’t run coming to support a young lady who is undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia. If that doesn’t help you mental health, I don’t know what will.

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Episode 5: An Interview with Caleb Daniloff

On today’s episode, I interview Caleb Daniloff. I first became aware of Caleb when I read his book, Running Ransom Road, an autobiography of descent into addiction over many years and his recovery. Caleb’s road to recovery involved running as both a paradigm for understanding his addiction and a road to true sobriety. He is a journalist by trade living with his wife and daughter in Cambridge, MA.

Caleb presents some great insights into the effect of addiction on self and family and on how running can help in recovery.

Leave us some feedback on what you think.

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