UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- Henry McGowan is taking on the biggest running challenge of his life, trying to help those whose course in life changed due to mental illness.
"I have been running for 8 years," said McGowan to Eyewitness News. "This is the natural next step after running a couple of halves and a Triathlon running for a cause which is very close to my heart."
McGowan is part of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the largest grassroots mental health organization in the U.S.
"NAMI is really important to me," said McGowan. "When I was looking for an organization to run the race with, it's the one that really stood out to me."
Up to 70 members of the group plan to join in this year's running of the TCS New York City Marathon.
It is good for everyone's emotional, physical and psychological health as long as you prepare.
"I think the biggest challenge is regularity," he shared. "I've always liked to run but doing it on your own pace and kind of when you want to is very different from signing up for a marathon where you need to be out five days a week."
Henry has been a spectator at the marathon and looks forward to running past throngs of people this year.
"I think that's the one day that the city truly feels like everyone's one," he said.
The Upper East Side native wants his experience to highlight his journey and his work with NAMI, an alliance that is there for everyone.
"If you're struggling, ask for help or someone near you is struggling with a mental illness, offer help," he said. "The organization is so great because it's targeted not only to individuals with mental illness but really it's more about the family of the individuals and empowering them and educating them to help that person," he said.