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ASICS supports CAMH, mental health initiatives with virtual Blue Jean Mile race

This free event from ASICS runs until the end of May, and it doubles as a fundraiser for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Photo by: ASICS

ASICS has organized a free virtual mile race that will run from now until May 31, but there’s a catch: everyone participating has to run in jeans. The ASICS Blue Jeans Mile was inspired by American middle-distance runner Johnny Gregorek, who set a world record when he ran a mile in 4:06.25 while wearing jeans in a 2020 fundraiser for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in the U.S. This year, the event is open to anyone who wants to race, and while it’s free to enter, participants are encouraged to donate to mental health initiatives, including Canada’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). 



Gregorek is one of the fastest milers in the U.S. right now, and he owns the American indoor mile record of 3:49.98, a time he set in 2019. He decided to trade his split shorts for blue jeans in 2020 to honour his late brother, Patrick, who passed away in 2019 at the age of 21 after struggles with mental illness. Gregorek set out to break the blue jean mile world record, which at the time stood at 4:11.80, and raise money (he set his fundraising goal at $2,500) for NAMI. He ended up smashing the record and his fundraising goal, as he ran 4:06.25 and raised more than $37,000.

RELATED: New blue jean mile record of 4:06.25 for American runner

This year, the event’s fundraising efforts have already eclipsed Gregorek’s total from 2020 thanks to a $40,625 donation from ASICS to NAMI. ASICS donated that exact sum to represent world record result that Gregorek, an ASICS-sponsored runner, ran last year. The virtual race opened on May 1, and so far, thousands of dollars have been raised on top of the donation from ASICS, with a little over $6,500 tallied for NAMI by American participants and close to $3,000 for CAMH by Canadian runners. 

Alongside Gregorek’s world record is the women’s mark of 4:58.84, which American Heather Wilson (who owns a regular mile PB of 4:29.39) set in 2017. If you think you can challenge either of these records, register for the run, toss on a pair of jeans and give it a shot. Even if you don’t think you have what it takes to become the new world record holder, it’ll be fun to run all-out in a pair of jeans. You might get some funny looks, but it’ll be worth it. 

For anyone interested in signing up for the run and donating, click here

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