This man resolved to run a marathon a month. Then came a car accident

Tate Murrell remembers the moment he decided to start running. The Prince George man had been lying in bed one day in 2018.

"[I thought] I'm 20 years old, like I haven't really done too much that I'm really proud of," Murrell told host Sarah Penton on CBC's Radio West. 

Murrell, now 22, had been struggling with depression. He said he had been using alcohol to cope, but at that moment he decided to try something different.

"I just decided that one day ... to change my life, maybe eat healthy, get better sleep, and maybe start running," he said. 

It proved helpful, and at the beginning of 2019, Murrell made a resolution to try and run a marathon — 42 kilometres — every month as a challenge to himself and raise awareness around mental health for his social network. 

"[Running] really allows you to peel back layers and find out what you're all about and you really put yourself out of the comfort zone," he said. 

"When you do those long events ... it's a humbling experience."

And as the year progressed, so did Murrell.

Head-on crash

He had completed seven marathons by the beginning of August when his year was irrevocably changed. 

On August 9, Murrell was a passenger in a car driving along Highway 1 near Kamloops. The driver of his vehicle drifted  across the centre line and clipped a truck before violently colliding with another car head-on. 

According to an RCMP report at the time, Murrell was airlifted to Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, B.C.

Tate Murrell/YouTube

He was severely hurt. During a four-hour surgery, parts of his large intestine, small intestine and appendix were removed. His sternum was broken; his lung, bruised.

"I thank God to this day that I'm still able to walk," he said.

After a month in Kamloops, he returned to Prince George where he had to undergo another surgery.

Murrell wasn't sure how he'd get back to running, let alone walking.

"I got back to running in October. Well, not running. I can't run. It's more like a fast walk [or] slow jog," he said.

He managed to complete  a marathon. "I thought I was going to quit at that point because that took a lot to do," he said. 

But in November, he decided to try again. He succeeded.

Tears at end of marathon

Murrell had now finished nine marathons, and only had three more to complete his original resolution.

"I knew once I did the November one that I had a chance," he said. 

He ran his first December marathon early in the month, on the 6th. And then he decided to do another mid-month, on the 17th. He completed it, but busted his knee. 

Murrell, who had now run 11 marathons in the year, decided to attempt one more, on Dec. 28, to complete his resolution. 

With his knee bandaged up, and hobbling at a much slower pace in cold Prince George, Murrell pulled it off, running toward his mom — who had been videotaping — in tears. 

Tate Murrell/YouTube

"After I do the [marathons] now, I just start to cry because I think about the journey and the process and everything I've been through," he said. "Like we just pulled off the impossible."

And Murrell says he's going to keep running as long as he can. 

"My outlet was running and it worked," he said, adding he feels his running helps people take him seriously. 

His advice for anyone struggling with depression?

"Do your passion and show people what you love, and maybe they'll understand you more that way."