Area gyms’ marathon row brings awareness to veteran mental health and suicide

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Area gyms came together to tackle 26.2 miles - 42,195 meters - on a rower machine to stand united against veteran suicide on Dec. 7.PHOTOS BY KATHY CHANG/STAFF
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Area gyms came together to tackle 26.2 miles - 42,195 meters - on a rower machine to stand united against veteran suicide on Dec. 7.PHOTOS BY KATHY CHANG/STAFF
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METUCHEN – Area gyms came together to tackle 26.2 miles – 42,195 meters – on a rower machine to stand united in the war against veteran suicide.

With a successful event last year, CrossFit Finest served as host to the marathon row for a second time on Dec. 7. This year, other gyms – Iron CrossFit North Brunswick, Mission Fitness in Livingston, Tribute Strength – CrossFit West Livingston and Sport Specific Power in Edison – joined the “shared passion for fitness, patriotism and charitable work” with marathon rows at the individual gyms.

A total of 230 athletes across 35 teams and six solo athletes participated in the event.

The event raised awareness and donations for Mission 22, a non-profit organization based in Oregon, which helps combat the ever-rising veteran suicide rate. Every day, more than 20 veterans are lost to suicide.

Mission 22 wants to bring that number to zero, offering treatment programs for post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, substance abuse and any other issues veterans might be facing, according to its website.

A video was shown at all gyms to kickoff the row event with comments from Capt. Joseph Hyer, who currently lives in Georgia. He had visited Mission Fitness and spoke about his experiences as a combat medic with 10 years of active duty under his belt, including multiple rotations with different operations groups. He also spoke about his dealings with mental health.

For more information visit Mission22.com.

To donate, visit https://mission22.networkforgood.com/projects/82284-2019-team-marathon-row?fbclid=lwAR3ykEWcZVAPLuYGIG8-K2i4ncVMThbMhEYnd-jqGlwJRsTPD9fKoU9swv8. One hundred percent of proceeds benefit the charity mission.