Real Talk Walk/Run breaks stigmas, brings families together


Above: Families take advantage of the brisk morning during a one-mile walk. (Photo credit Jasz Garrett/KINY)

Juneau, Alaska (KINY) – The second annual Real Talk/Walk Run, sponsored by Bartlett Regional Hospital, brought hard conversations out into the open.

A toddler trot of a modest 80 yards was the race with the most participation on Saturday morning. Following that was a kid’s half mile, and then an adult one-mile walk or 5K run. All of the events took place at the Airport Dike Trail, and a total of about 75 people participated.

Director of Marketing and Communications with BRH, Erin Hardin, said this must be their lucky fall weekend as the sun shone down on strollers.

7-year-old Holden Field came in 1st for the kid’s half mile. Last year he tied with his sister. He said he wanted to come back and try again.

His mother, Brooke Field, said that he loves running, and does it any chance he gets.

“The other day we were driving and he wanted to run home,” she said with a laugh.

After the kid’s half mile, the family took a break to enjoy free t-shirts and hot cocoa. Then they took off for the one-mile walk.

For the 5K, 16-year-old Elijah Levy won the overall race with a time of 24:42 and Amy Kramer was the fastest women’s finisher.

Kids take off for the half-mile run. (Photo credit Jasz Garrett/KINY)

Sara Gress shared the goal of Real Talk.

“The name comes from one of our support groups that we run called the ‘Real Talk Mothers’ Support Group’, which was started almost three years ago,” she said. “Teri Forst from Anchor Counseling and myself from Bartlett Beginning, run three separate support groups that are all aimed at supporting different areas of parenting and mental health. So, that group in particular is aimed at just providing a space for folks to talk about the harder aspects of being a new parent.”

Real Talk takes place on the last Wednesday of every month, 7-8 p.m.

Another support group is aimed at pregnancy and infant loss, every last Wednesday, 6-7 p.m.

The third group is a space to process birth experiences, ‘Birth Healing & Reflection’. That group is one session per week for two weeks.

All of the support groups can be found on the Bartlett website.

The support team is there to support parents from pregnancy all the way to toddlerhood, and Hardin encouraged folks to reach out no matter what phase they’re in.

The walk/run promotes these resources and also opens a space for parenthood and mental health to exist together.

“It’s also a great opportunity to get people together in the fall for an activity. It gets harder and harder to find things to do with families this time of year. So, it’s a great excuse to get people together for a really low-key, fun family event and possibly make some new connections here,” Hardin added. “To pick up resources but also maybe meet some new parents, join some new groups, and just get out and get some exercise.”

Another reason Real Talk is held in the fall is because October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Month.

It was Angela and Roscoe’s first time attending the Real Talk Walk/Run. (Photo credit Jasz Garrett/KINY)
Angela and Roscoe Bicknell watch a float plane go by. (Photo credit Jasz Garrett/KINY)