Woodstock first responder running 70+ miles to bring attention to firefighter suicide issue

A Woodstock first responder and veteran is running for firefighters who can't. 

Ryan Mains is training to run more than 70 miles in memory of firefighters who lost their lives to suicide. 

"It's a bit of an epidemic. Over 100 firefighters and paramedics die by suicide each year," said Mains. "That's been going on for a few years now. It's not something that's being talked about a lot, and it's something that need to be talked about."

Mains ran 130 kilometers last year in memory of the 130 firefighters who died by suicide in 2019. This year he will be running 115 kilometers to raise money for the Illinois Firefighter Peer Support Group. 


The cause is personal for Mains. He received help from the Illinois Firefighter Peer Support Group and wants to make sure other firefighters know about it. 

"They helped get me the treatment that I needed, and they have just been there for us throughout the whole process. This is a way to kind of help pay them back," said Mains.

Mains will start running on Saturday, May 22, at midnight. He's planning to start at the Woodstock Square and run all the way to St. Charles on the Illinois Prairie Path.

"Be there for any first responder you know and support them," said Mains.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, there are places to get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available at 1-800-273-8255. You can also chat with them online at suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat.

Here are some common warning signs of suicide, as provided by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious, agitated or recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings