The Capital City Race is dedicated to raising mental health awareness in Missouri. We plan to accomplish this through the story of Jared Palmer and his struggle with mental health. We also plan to share this story through the journey of Matt Chinn, a Cole County Treatment Court Graduate. Matt and Jared became friends while attending the University of Missouri-Columbia as they both were in the same classes, same fraternity and same pledge class. While there, Matt and Jared forged a strong friendship and brotherhood. Because of Jared, the entire pledge class formed lifelong, tightly woven bonds.
Jared was always the guy who could put differences aside and bring people together. He was a tether – able to unite a group of people from very different backgrounds to help them grow together. His genuine smile, goofy personality and ability to listen empathetically won the hearts of many. In life, it would not have been a strange sight to see Jared in the center of a crowd that was roaring with laughter. He had an immense amount of energy and a desire to spark joy in others. Jared’s exuberance overflowed to those around him, and those who knew him have countless memories of his joyful spirit. Along with his infectious personality, Jared possessed a tremendous power of will that he put to use on many occasions. He excelled in his professional career in the insurance industry, but his greatest passion were his two children whom he dearly loved. His world revolved around them. Whether it was sharing time at the pool, park, soccer games or swim lessons, Jared, with the unwavering support of their mom, Allison, always tried to make his children his highest priority.
Throughout Matt and Jared’s friendship, Matt began to observe indications that Jared was struggling with his mental health. In the spring of 2019, Jared was diagnosed with bipolar depression. Like most people who struggle with bipolar disease, Jared had good days and bad days. By the summer of 2019, Jared resembled merely a shell of the person he had been in college. It became evident that Jared needed intensive care and mental health treatment in addition to his medication. Jared’s family and his pledge class pooled money to help get him the treatment and resources he needed while navigating this stage of his mental health journey.
Meanwhile, Matt Chinn was going through a journey of his own. An avid runner and fitness enthusiast, Matt was 20 months sober and also navigating his own fresh path of recovery. Matt felt compelled to do everything he could to help Jared. On January 25, 2020 – Matt’s 35th birthday – he decided that he was not content to sit idle knowing what Jared was going through. On that day, Matt decreed that from February 1 through February 28, 2020, he would run 20 miles a day. He knew that if he could run 20 miles per day for 28 straight days, such a feat might gain support to raise money for Jared’s treatment. Matt’s story was broadcasted by local news stations and on social media through family, friends and his community. Matt rallied the community in support and saw that others, too, felt that mental health is worth discussing and supporting. During the month of February, Matt and Jared talked every morning via FaceTime as Matt was driving to start his 4:30 a.m. run. Through snow, ice and a polar vortex, Matt doggedly laced up his shoes for Jared. Twenty-eight days later, Matt completed his “February Challenge,” running a total of 569 total miles and raising $10,800. The entirety of the money raised went directly to Jared’s treatment and care. With the support garnered by Matt and by Jared’s family and friends, Jared was able to receive mental health treatment, attend regular counseling and start to find his way on his mental health journey.
Despite the best of efforts to support Jared, he lost his battle with mental illness in November 2021. Losing Jared weighed heavily on Matt. In the following months, after long deliberation, he knew how to respond to his grief and memorialize Jared’s battle. And so, on another monumental birthday quest, Matt decreed on his 37th birthday that he would create an event to bring mental health disorders to light. He would do so through the power of fitness and exercise. He would create the Capital City Race in Memory of Jared Palmer during Mental Health Awareness Month. In planning this race, Matt aims to destigmatize mental health disorders, spread awareness about mental health resources and, again, rally the community to support those struggling with mental health disease so they don’t have to suffer alone. In 2023, Matt hosted the inaugural Capital City Race in Jefferson City.
With the support of community partners, donations, and sponsors, Matt raised over $10,000 that was split between Jared's children and the Cole County Treatment Courts (Veteran's Court, Adult Drug Court, DWI Court, and Co-Occurring Court).
The second annual Capital City Race will feature 5K, 10K and half marathon race courses and will take place on May 11, 2024.