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El Paso running club aims to boost mental health awareness

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- Freddy Arellano already serves the community as a Crisis Intervention Officer with the Socorro Police Department.

However, his service and mental health awareness truly began as a civilian in 2018. That's when his beloved aunt, Yvonne Castillo, succumbed to cancer.

"What inspired me was my late aunt," says Arellano.

Arellano created a running club, "Run For It, El Paso," the same year.

He needed to find a way to both cope with his grief and spread awareness.

"Just doing charity runs and runs for non-profits," says Arellano. "To raise money for cancer or any type of services that we can provide."

For Arellano, running started on his high school's track.

"One of the first meets that I ran here at Burges, I got a medal as a freshman," says Arellano.

A spark was lit and Arellano was unstoppable.

"I got super competitive," says Arellano. "I wanted to win a medal each meet."

His late father, Alfredo Arellano, was his biggest fan.

Arellano says, "He was there for me at every single event that I used to do back when I was young."

After the passing of his father in 2022, Arellano relied on family, running and his longtime coach, Alex Smith.

Smith says, "I really love what he's been doing and he's really been a tremendous asset."

150 runners meet weekly.

"Being in crisis intervention, what I do is all mental health, says Arellano. "So the ability of just going out there, helping people that need help with mental health services."

Arellano created a space for people to bond, network and heal.

Anyone interested in joining "Run For It, El Paso, can find information on running routes, meeting dates and times here.

Article Topic Follows: Be Mindful

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Crista V. Mack

Crista V. Mack is a U.S. Air Force veteran who transitioned to news as a multi-media journalist.


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